75 years on: Remembering the Austrian 'Anschluss'
Austrian Embassy and Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in joint remembrance event, marking the anniversary of the 1938 annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany. Date: 13 March 2013.
“Every democratic society is measured by the way in which it openly confronts its darkest past: today Austria remembers – in shame at what took place in 1938, and with determination to keep learning the lessons for the future.”
(Emil Brix, Austrian Ambassador)
“We are very grateful to His Excellency for organising this important event and for joining with us to commemorate one of the key episodes in events leading up to the Holocaust. The Anschluss signified the Nazis’ expansionist dreams to create a racially pure entity and marked a turning point in the persecution of Jews in Austria. Far from being victims of occupation, considerable sections of Austrian society welcomed their absorption into the Reich. Events like today’s recall the suffering that our loved ones and thousands of innocent people endured and serve to remind us all of the perilous consequences when the territorial ambitions of dictators are unchallenged.”
(Andrew Kaufman, AJR Chairman)
75 years ago, on 12 March 1938, soldiers from Nazi Germany entered Austria, resulting in the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich. On the streets, there were cheering crowds. Elsewhere in many places, there was sadness and despair. Vast numbers of Austrians – mostly Jews – were immediately persecuted. Of those that managed to escape, many found a new home in Britain. The March days of the ‘Anschluss’ marked the beginning of the darkest chapter of Austrian history – a period when Austrians persecuted and killed Austrians, and when those that survived had to flee their country, often forever.
At the event, two personal witnesses of the ‘Anschluss’ will share their experiences of how they lived through and survived those tragic days in March 1938. A young Austrian will describe how he learnt about it in school, 75 years later. The event will be followed by a social reception for AJR members from across the country, and will also be attended by Hannah Lessing, President of the Austrian National Fund for Victims of National Socialism, the General Settlement Fund, and the Fund for Restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Austria.
For press enquiries, please contact:
Martin Reichard, Austrian Embassy