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Sobotka: Holocaust one of the worst crimes in history

Parliament celebrates International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Vienna (PK) – Since 2005, at the initiative of the United Nations, the 27th of January represents the world’s remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. More than six million Jews were victims of anti-Semitism and National Socialist racism. Parliament honors her with a broad program and participation in the international #WeRemember initiative. Parliamentarians will tell the life stories of Holocaust victims and celebrate them in a personal way. A huge banner on the facade of parliament draws attention to the campaign.

“The #WeRemember initiative reminds people that the Holocaust was one of the worst crimes in history and that millions of innocent people were murdered because of hatred and exclusion,” said National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka on the occasion of the day of today’s memory. By participating in the #WeRemember campaign, Parliament shows its solidarity with the victims of the Shoah and its commitment to a future of tolerance. It is particularly important for him to keep the memory of the victims alive, Sobotka stressed.

Deputies honor Holocaust victims

There is a clear innovation this year in participating in the #WeRemember campaign: Members of Parliament were able to choose a victim’s name from the Mauthausen Memorial name room or from the Yad Vashem database to share their story. “It makes the commemoration more personal, deeper and more meaningful,” said National Council President Sobotka. The celebratory message is now being communicated to a wider audience via Parliament’s information screens and Members’ social media platforms.

Sobotka explained that he chose Aron Menczer himself. As the leader of a Jewish youth movement, he worked for children and young people and managed to save thousands of them. He was very impressed by this, as young people are the future of our society and play an essential role in combating hatred and anti-Semitism. For this reason, the range of educational opportunities on the Holocaust and the long history of anti-Semitism should also be expanded as part of the Parliament’s democracy workshop, noted the President of the National Council.

Zikaron BaSalon initiative starts in Austria and allows “celebration in the living room”

On the day of today’s celebration, the initiative “Zikaron BaSalon – celebration in the living room” starts in Austria. This would motivate citizens to commemorate the Holocaust in their living rooms in the close circle of their family and friends in exchange for contemporary witnesses or their descendants. Hundreds of thousands of such meetings are held annually around the world and the concept has proven itself internationally. National Council President Sobotka, who hosted a memorial evening with contemporary witness Volvi (Viktor) Klein in his office this week, is impressed by the initiative, saying it allows for “a unique exchange”. After today’s kick-off, the initiative intends to establish itself in Austria together with the Federal Chancellery and Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler. In 2021, the initiative was among the top ten submissions for the Simon Wiesenthal Prize. The following year, she was nominated again, this time for the main prize, which will be awarded in Parliament on March 13, 2023.

About the #WeRemember campaign in memory of victims of National Socialism

The #WeRemember global campaign was launched by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and UNESCO to honor the victims of National Socialism. In addition to the Austrian Parliament, several other national parliaments from EU Member States and the European Parliament participate in the campaign. On the facade of the parliament, a huge banner draws the attention of passers-by on the Vienna Ringstrasse to the campaign. Members of parliamentary groups honor Holocaust victims in posts on social media and on parliamentary information screens. On January 27, 1945, survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp were released. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly declared the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

For several years, Parliament has repeatedly focused on the fight against oblivion and the anti-Semitism that is still present. Among other things, it regularly conducts an anti-Semitism study. More recently, investigations have revealed, among other things, a close link between anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories; Education was recognized as an essential factor in the fight against anti-Semitism. Parliament contributes to education through its offerings, including the democracy workshop, where students have the opportunity to speak with contemporary witnesses. (close) pst

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