On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the November Pogroms, the Youth Commission of the Jewish Community called for the fifth time the Memorial March „Light of Hope“ last night. At the closing rally on Judenplatz, IKG President Oskar Deutsch and Chief Rabbi Arie Folger, as well as Austrian Holocaust survivors, and representatives of the Republic spoke.
„The Holocaust did not fall from the sky,“ said Folger. On the contrary, there would be a „long bloody history of anti-Semitism“. Deutsch also warned that the November pogroms should not be seen as an isolated event: the November pogroms were „neither the beginning nor the end of the Shoah.“ „The end was the gas chambers and in the beginning was hatred“. In this sense, it is important to be vigilant against anti-Semitism and racism.
Survivors reported atrocities
Deutsch also had reason to be happy, „that we are here today together with our friends from Israel.“ He meant a group of more than 70 Austrian Schoah survivors, who are currently visiting Vienna at the invitation of the Federal Government. Two of them shared their childhood memories of the November pogroms in short speeches. They reminded that „people were not only beaten but also slain“.
The republic was represented by National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka and State Secretary Karoline Edtstadler (both ÖVP). They underscored Austria’s historical responsibility. Sobotka was repeatedly disturbed by interjections from Thursday protesters. The organizers asked for political disputes to be left aside. The disturbances did not stop until Sobotka left the stage.
Federal President: „Never again“ no empty phrase
Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen also warned in the evening at a memorial event on the November pogroms in the Psychosocial Center ESRA of the Jewish Community (IKG) in Vienna, that „often repeated ‚Never again'“ should not become a compulsory exercise or a penny „. One must see history as an example, „where scapegoat policy, incitement, marginalization can lead,“ he said at the place of the former pogrom destroyed in November 1938 Leopoldstädter temple.
In Austria, at least 30 Jews were killed in the pogroms in November 1938, 7,800 arrested and 4,000 deported from Vienna to the Dachau concentration camp immediately. Thousands of synagogues and businesses were burned down in Germany, 91 people were killed in the official reading, but in fact many more people died during the pogroms and their aftermath. More than 20,000 people were arrested.