On Monday, the Austrian leader attended the opening of the permanent national exhibition “So for, So Close. Austria and Auschwitz” at the former German Auschwitz camp. The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Prof. Piotr Gliński, Marian Turski, a former prisoner of war and head of the International Auschwitz Committee, as well as Wolfgang Sobotka, chairman of the National Council, with members of the Austrian parliament, local government and the Jewish community.
President Alexander van der Belen said in Auschwitz that racism, anti-Semitism and national socialism, concentration and destruction camps, Auschwitz “did not fall from the sky.” He recalled that “anti-Semitism had already taken place in Austria before March 1938.” – The ground was prepared and when the Germans entered in 1938 they were warmly welcomed in Viennese Heldenplatz. He explained that the seed sown grows and develops.
Van der Balin pointed out that since November 1938, when Jews were subjected to violence, “neighbors who used to live together peacefully have suddenly become criminals and victims.” He pointed out that there has been discrimination, inhumanity, death and genocide. It took a military, almost industrial form. The Auschwitz-Birkenau disaster camp has become a symbol of this vision. He added that Austrian citizens were killed here, mainly Jews, but also “Roma, Cinti, members of the resistance movement, homosexuals, prisoners, representatives of Polish intellectuals and many others”.
The President emphasized that “even if Austria did not exist then and was part of the Third Reich, many Austrians were still leaders in criminal activities, even in the camps of destruction.” – We all know this story, and yet the state ideology was that Austria was the first victim of the Nazis – he insisted. He noted that this could be debated, “but it does mean forgetting the past, ignoring the fact that many of the perpetrators were Austrians.”
Alexander van der Balin took the initiative to preserve the memory of the victims at the hands of the Austrians, but also tried to remind that the perpetrators were also part of the society and their form was the same.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and Head of the Ministry of Culture, Prof. In his speech, Piotr Glasky stressed that “the memory of the victims – those who were killed and those who survived, but who have already been irreparably distorted in their souls and bodies – is our duty and There is a responsibility that we must pass on to future generations. “
Professor Glasky pointed out that more than 90% of the perpetrators of World War II were never punished after the war. He cites the example of SS General Heinz Renforth, who committed the greatest crime against civilians during World War II: the August 5-7, 1944 massacre of 50,000 people. Polish residents – children, women, the elderly from the Vola district of Warsaw. After the war, he became honorary mayor of Westerland and vice president of the Schleswig-Holsteinland tag.
“The Polish state, together with the international community, is witnessing progress in the responsible formulation of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Austrian authorities,” Guterreski said at the same time. – We appreciate it, even though at the same time we ask: Why is it so late? Why only 76 years after the end of the war? – He was asking.
He thanked the current Austrian authorities for the activities related to the memory: for a new exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial, but also for the purchase of the neglected properties after the Gossin camp, where Poland had one of its intellectuals. Lost a lot – However, we must be aware that this process is not over and this responsibility requires further action. “The biggest challenge is before us,” he said. He declared “cooperation and commitment to preserve the memory of crimes and their victims.”
Marian Tursky, a former Auschwitz prisoner and chairman of the International Auschwitz Committee, stressed in his speech that in addition to preserving the memory of German crimes, it is important to draw conclusions from them for the future. In this context, he recalled the words inscribed on the Mujaddidin shrine: “Our destiny is a warning to you.” – You must save your generation from this experience. “In this way, you will honor those who did not have the opportunity to speak at death,” he said.
Tursky recalled the character of Herman Langben, a communist and anti-Nazi activist who co-founded the resistance movement in Auschwitz. Vitold Peleki with rtm. – I am very happy that he is one of the heroes of this new exhibition – he said.
He also spoke about the contribution of contemporary Austrian workers to the Holocaust. He spoke to Hina Lessing of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and Ledger Jینmtin Auschwitz, one of the authors of the exhibition project, who was visiting the event. “The fruit of this effort is a solid and wise display,” he said.
After the ceremony, Austrian politicians and professors. Piotr Glasky pays tribute to Auschwitz victims He laid a wreath in front of the wall of death in the courtyard of Block 11.
New Exhibition – “So Far, So Close. Austria and Auschwitz” was organized by a research and curative team gathered around Hans Selzin Baker and Albert Leach Blau and architect Martin Kohl Bauer. It presents the history of Austrian deportation to Auschwitz and their participation in the prisoner resistance movement. It also tells about Austria who committed crimes in the camp. Emphasis was placed on the difference between the realities of life in Auschwitz and Austria at that time.