Festival of Joy 2021

Day of liberation

May 8, 1945, was the day of the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht and the official end of the Second World War in Europe. On the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi-terror, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) is organising the Festival of Joy for the ninth time on 8 May 2021. May 8th is a day of joy. However, May 8th will not only celebrate the liberation from Nazi-terror; 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, and the liberators will be celebrated.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Festival of Joy will once again take place virtually in 2021 and will focus on "Destroyed Diversity".
The Fest der Freude will be streamed internationally on the online channels of the Mauthausen Komitee Österreich.
When: Saturday, May 8, 2021, beginning: 6:00 p.m. CET.
Where: virtually on www.mkoe.at

The theme is dedicated to the diversity of victim groups persecuted by the National Socialists. Millions of people were murdered under the Nazi regime of terror. Approximately two-thirds of the Jewish population living in Europe before World War 2 were victims of Nazi racial policies, as well as countless Roma and Sinti. However, Nazi racial persecution also included Slavs and other groups deemed "inferior." The sick and people with disabilities were first branded as "parasites on the German national body" and then systematically murdered. The National Socialist murder machinery also persecuted many who did not want to follow the Nazi ideology, before instance out of political and/or religious conviction. Basically, every person who was "different" in the broadest sense was threatened with exclusion, persecution and even murder. As every year, the thematic focus covers not only the historical aspect but also the present. Exclusion and discrimination happen every day and are accepted by most society. Racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and right-wing extremism are problems that affect society as a whole. Racist attacks, violence, and discrimination against women and homosexuals, right-wing extremist crimes on the one hand and international solidarity movements like "Black Lives Matter", "Me too" on the other hand.

This diversity will also be reflected in the program of the virtual Festival of Joy. The highlight will be the speeches of contemporary witness Katja Sturm-Schnabl and Federal President Alexander van der Bellen. The Virtual Festival of Joy will also start with a welcoming speech by MKÖ Chairman Willi Mernyi. Katharina Stemberger will once again guide us thorugh the agenda and host the event.

At the Festival of Joy 2021, new accents will be placed. The intention of the Festival of Joy itself is alwas rooted around diversity, the thematic focus 2021 even more. Because of this, diversity will also be reflected in the event's music programme. At the Festival of Joy, musicians will perform musical contributions created for the thematic focus. A short film on the topic of diversity will be part of the programme of the Festival of Joy.

At Heldenplatz there will be a symbolic commemorative event with quotes and photos of survivors as well as excerpts from the survivors' Mauthausen Oath in different languages.

Around the date of the Festival of Joy, there will be diffrent virtual acitvites focusing on "Destroyed Diversity" and on May 8 itself..

Over the last 8 years, more than 98,000 visitors at the Festival of Joy have sent a strong signal for the establishment of a dignified commemoration of May 8 as Liberation Day.