Vienna, 26 January 2018 Press release

Karin Kneissl: “Auschwitz is a powerful warning”

Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl on the international Holocaust Memorial Day

Auschwitz is a powerful warning about the kind of suffering and prolonged trauma that can arise from anti-Semitism, intolerance, racism, fanaticism and marginalisation,

said Foreign Minister Kneissl on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp on 27 January. It symbolises how the Shoah is a crime unprecedented in nature.

To commemorate the victims of the Holocaust means, at the same time, the unquestioning obligation to stand up for democracy, human rights and tolerance and to fight hate-mongering and extremism together,

maintained Ms Kneissl.

Last year Austria was tasked with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which sent an important message both nationally and internationally.

Austria pays more than just lip service to its historical responsibility. As a place that promotes dialogue, and through its cultural activities the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs also plays a role in actively commemorating the past, lest we forget, by working with international partners and civil society,

said Austria’s Foreign Minister Kneissl. She cited the National Action Plan for Integration and membership in international forums such as the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the UN and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as examples of Austria’s ongoing commitment to commemorating the past.

Karin Kneissl for a vibrant Jewish community in Austria

The Foreign Minister emphasised that Austria is aware of its particular historical responsibility in the fight against anti-Semitism. “Commitment to a vibrant Jewish community in Austria will also continue to remain of particular importance to us “, she said. “Racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, demagoguery and intolerance continue to threaten safety and security in our society. In recent years anti-Semitic incidents have created a widespread feeling of fear and insecurity in Jewish communities once again. We need a form of general awareness that anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and hate-mongering have no place in our society”, said Ms. Kneissl.

This is why the fight against radicalisation and extremism was also a priority of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship in 2017. I personally will participate in the Conference on Fighting Anti-Semitism of the Italian OSCE Chairmanship in Rome to continue our wor”,

she said. Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl will be travelling to the conference in Rome on 29 January 2018, organised by the Italian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is dedicated to fighting Anti-Semitism.

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