Festival of Joy 2020
Day of liberation
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation from the Nazi-Terror, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) is organising the Festival of Joy for the eighth time on 8 May 2020. Due to the official orders of the Federal Government regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, the Feast of Joy will take place virtually in memory of the victims and the joy of the liberation.
May 8, 1945, is the day of unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht and the official end of the Second World War in Europa. May 8 is a day of joy.However, May 8 will not only celebrate the liberation from National Socialist rule; the millions who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis will also be remembered. The victims and the resistance will be commemorated on this day at Vienna's highly symbolic Heldenplatz, and the liberators will be celebrated. In 2020, the Festival of Joy is dedicated to the thematic focus "Humanity without Borders".
The highlight of the ceremony will be the speech of contemporary witness Erika Kosnar. Erika Kosnar comes from a Viennese working class family of Jewish faith. Her mother converted to Judaism in 1931. From 1938 on, Erika suffered insults, harassment and atrocities. Thanks in part to her mother's civil courage, she survived the Nazi terror in Vienna. To this day she continues to campaign for "Never Again".
The Vienna Symphony Orchestra will also be represented with a contribution. Videos on the thematic focus "Humanity without Borders" of the messages of the liberator nations and many others will also be shown. The virtual celebration will be officially opened with a welcome by MKÖ-Chairman Willi Mernyi and the words of Federal President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen.
For the first time this year the Festival of Joy will not be shown at Heldenplatz, but in the livestream on www.festderfreude.at and in the live broadcast on ORF III.
The actress Katharina Stemberger will accompany us through the Virtual Festival of Joy.
The Festival of Joy takes place in close cooperation with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and with the support of the Jewish Community, the association Gedenkdienst (in service of remembrance) and the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance.
This year again, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation will broadcast the Festival of Joy live from Vienna's Heldenplatz. This will be the highlight of extensive thematic emphasis on the history of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp and its satellite camps.
In the past 7 years, more than 68,000 visitors at the Festival of Joy have sent a strong signal for the establishment of a worthy commemoration on May 8 as Liberation Day.