On January 27, 1945, soldiers of the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. By then, more than one million people had been murdered at this site alone. To mark the anniversary of the liberation, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed today. “It is a human duty to remember the victims and to thank the liberators, survivors and resistance fighters,” says Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community (IKG). “Primo Levi summed up the importance of remembering for the future: ‘It has happened, and consequently it can happen again.'” Remembrance serves above all our children and later generations, Deutsch said.
The fact that today Judaism is a self-evident part of Austria and that a lively and diverse religious community has emerged in Vienna in particular is largely thanks to the generation of survivors. Deutsch:
“Today, in the Corona pandemic, our parents and grandparents are among the most vulnerable people. Protecting their health is a Jewish, human and moral imperative. I especially thank Health Minister Rudi Anschober, representing the entire federal government, and Health City Councilor Peter Hacker, representing the entire provincial government, for the opportunity to offer protective vaccinations to Shoah survivors with their significant others and the oldest members of the IKG Vienna on this symbolic day.”
In a vaccination street of the City of Vienna, twelve volunteer doctors, members of the IKG Vienna, are carrying out Corona vaccinations this afternoon in close cooperation with the health authorities. A total of around 400 Shoah survivors as well as over-85-year-old IKG members will be vaccinated. Over the past few weeks, IKG staff contacted the individuals in question and prepared for today’s vaccination. “Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers involved,” says Deutsch.
Austria is thus among the first EU members in which the potentially life-saving protective vaccination of the Shoah generation is made possible. Oskar Deutsch: “I am pleased that this joint action has succeeded!”