Since 1946, the commemoration and liberation ceremonies in the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial and in places of the former satellite camps have been organized and carried out by the survivors or their associations.
The first survivors to return to Mauthausen in larger groups were French concentration camp survivors. Beside the French, there were a large number of groups from other nations who returned to Mauthausen for their national commemoration, insofar as the political situation of the time in their respective home countries permitted it. The Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) has taken on this task as the successor organization of the Austrian Mauthausen Camps Association (ÖLM).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken by the federal government to mitigate it, it is not possible to carry out the International Liberation Ceremony in its usual form.
In close cooperation with the Comité International de Mauthausen (CIM), we are therefore organizing a Virtual International Liberation Ceremony 75 years after the liberation with statements by witnesses, video contributions, and music.
We cordially invite you to participate in the Virtual International Liberation Ceremony on
May 10, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The virtual liberation ceremony can be found at www.mkoe.at.
We will start the Virtual International Liberation Ceremony with an international greeting and the reading of the Mauthausen Oath in different languages. Since well over 90 percent of the victims were neither Germans nor Austrians, the memory of the victims of the Mauthausen concentration camp and its satellite camps is of international importance to us.
Several survivors will be sending a statement:
"A virtual liberation ceremony can never replace a Liberation Ceremony at the concentration camp memorial itself. But it is the best possibility to commemorate together, internationally, and by strongly involving survivors."
Willi Mernyi, Chairman of the Mauthausen Committee Austria
MKÖ chairman Willi Mernyi opens the Virtual International Liberation Celebration with his welcoming. The statement by CIM President Guy Dockendorf is followed by further contributions and statements on the thematic focus "Humanity without borders" by representatives of international camp committees, religious communities, Comité International de Mauthausen and many more.
Furthermore, thematic and historical contributions on liberation and the work for a "Never Again" will be shown and framed by musical contributions.
Mercedes Echerer and Konstanze Breitebner accompany us through the virtual liberation ceremony.
The Virtual International Liberation Ceremony will be framed by Virtual Commemorative Weeks from April 26 to May 20, 2020. During this time, short videos of concentration camp survivors and contemporary witnesses, with reports from the liberators, statements from victims’ organizations, ambassadors, local commemorative initiatives, etc. will be shown.
In addition to the main ceremony in Mauthausen, each year sees over 110 memorial events at locations of former satellite camps of Mauthausen CC and other sites of Nazi terror throughout Austria. Most of these events are organized by local associations and initiatives in close cooperation with Mauthausen Committee Austria. Tens of thousands of people send an impressive signal every year for "Never again!".
In 2000, Mauthausen Committee Austria stepped in to assume the legacy of the survivors of Mauthausen Concentration Camp, focusing on the motto “Never again”. Mauthausen Committee Austria is active across the nation, active in national and international network, and present in the media.
As in past years, despite the financial support of the CC Memorial and the Austrian provinces, the costs of organizing and conducting the Memorial and Liberation Ceremonies are by far not covered. Therefore we kindly invite you to make a donation as your clear signal to enable the continuation of our work (bank account for donations: IBAN: AT62 1400 0100 1067 4528 BIC:BAWAATWW).
The "Mauthausen Satellite Camp App" by Mauthausen Committee Austria provides free information, photos and videos about the history of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp system for everyone. Not only digitally native youth but also historically interested persons of all ages can now engage in virtual visits to all Mauthausen satellite camps.
We look forward to numerous participants at the International Liberation Ceremony.
"In memory of the blood shed by all peoples, in memory of the millions of brothers assassinated by Nazi-Fascism, we solemnly swear to never abandon this path. We want to erect the most beautiful monument that one could dedicate to the soldiers who have fallen for the cause of freedom of the international community on a secure basis: A world of free men! We direct ourselves to the entire world, shouting: help us in this work!" (Excerpt from Mauthausen Oath)
Survivors of Mauthausen concentration camp and sub-camps were liberated by US troops at the beginning of May 1945. Since 1946 the Liberation Ceremony has been organized and conducted by survivors and their organizations. As successor organization to the Austrian Association of Mauthausen Survivors, Mauthausen Committee Austria has taken on this task. The events serve as an act of memorial for the victims of Nazi terror and persecution, as well as a rallying call against all kinds of intolerance, dictatorship, xenophobia and anti-Semitism: a moment of solidarity with victims of the past and present. Each year since 2006, the Memorial and Liberation Ceremonies have been dedicated to a specific theme related to the history of CC Mauthausen or Austria’s Nazi past. Each annual theme has a direct reference to the present as an essential aspect and aims to establish a relation today’s personal realm of experience, especially for young people.
Because over 90% of the victims were neither Germans nor Austrians, we vest international importance in the remembrance of the victims of Mauthausen concentration camp and its satellite camps. Die International Memorial and Liberation Ceremony is by far the largest memorial and liberation ceremony worldwide. Tens of thousands of people participate annually, including the last living survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp and its satellite camps, from Austria and abroad, including numerous young people.
The Austrian Mauthausen Committee organise the events together with his partner organisation Austrian Association of Mauthausen Survivors, Comité International de Mauthausen and other organisations. In addition to the liberation ceremony in Mauthausen, each year numerous memorial ceremonies are held at locations of former satellite camps of CC Mauthausen and other locations of Nazi terror; annually over 45,000 participants attend these ceremonies. The current Event Preview for Memorial and Liberation Ceremonies 2019 is attached and also available for download at www.mkoe.at.
The distribution of memorial and cultural events throughout the region is particularly appropriate to highlight how comprehensive the concentration camp system was and to avoid a focus solely on the Mauthausen site. The history of the sub-camps is closely tied to European history – in these camps thousands of people were worked to death through forced labour in the production of armaments.