Wreath laying – heads of state at the commemoration of the pogrom of November

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Wednesday marks the 84th anniversary of the pogrom against the Jewish population in Austria and Germany on the night of November 10, 1938. During that time, Jewish fellow citizens were murdered, their shops looted, apartments destroyed and synagogues set on fire. Representatives of the Republic – led by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) – commemorated the victims in Vienna.

The pogroms, often referred to today as the Nazi phrase “Reichskristallnacht,” which is still downplayed, marked the beginning of the Shoah, the targeted extermination of the Jewish population, for many historians. In Austria, during the pogroms in November 1938, about 30 Jews were murdered, 7,800 were arrested, and about 4,000 were immediately deported from Vienna to Dachau concentration camp, where many of them were subsequently murdered. The literature also mentions several hundred suicides in Vienna alone. Thousands of synagogues and shops were burned down throughout the “German Reich”, according to the official version of the time, 91 people were killed, but in fact many more people were killed during the pogroms. About 30,000 people were arrested.

Wreath laying at the monument
In the morning, representatives of the republic commemorated the victims by laying wreaths at the Shoah Wall of Names memorial in Ostarrichi Park (in front of the National Bank). In addition to Van der Bellen and the highest government, almost all members of the government took part, as did National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) and Federal Council President Korinna Schumann (SPÖ). The opposition was represented by SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner, FPÖ MP Harald Stefan and NEOS man Helmut Brandstätter. The club presidents of the ÖVP and the Greens, August Wöginger and Sigrid Maurer, were also there, as well as IKG president Oskar Deutsch and the secretary general of the National Fund for Victims of National Socialism, Hannah Lessing.

“History teaches us to be careful and act decisively against any form of anti-Semitism,” said Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) in a short message circulated via Twitter. The SPÖ also emphasized that 9 November was “forever” the “marker stone for the darkest chapter of Austrian history” – as well as “an ongoing task to keep the memory alive and to be vigilant against exclusion, hatred, hate speech and anti- semitism”. “Never again should anti-Semitism have a place in our society,” Rendi-Wagner and SPÖ federal director Christian Deutsch said in a broadcast. Deutsch referred to 381 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of the year to the anti-Semitism reporting office of the Isrealitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG) in Vienna, and that there was a “clear need for action” – the action plan against right-wing extremism decided last year should finally be presented.

NEOS club president Beate Meinl-Reisinger explained in a broadcast that November 9 should be more than just a memorial day. “At the same time, I see this day as a mandate to act decisively against any form of intolerance and exclusion. Because every day we are challenged to stand up to anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism and bullying,” she said.

Other events and “Light of Hope” march
On Wednesday there were also other commemorations on the program. Also in the morning, in the presence of Federal President Van der Bellen, among others, a wreath was laid at the monument to the Austrian-Jewish victims of the Shoah on Judenplatz. A democracy workshop will take place in the Vienna City Temple on Seitenstettengasse, as well as a discussion with school children and the President of the National Council, Sobotka.

In the evening, the “Light of Hope” march starts from Heldenplatz through the city center to Judenplatz.

Source: Krone

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