Tiroler Tageszeitung, editorial from November 9th, 2023. By Wolfgang Sablatnig: “A task, again and again”.

2023-11-08 23:00:14

Vienna (OTS) The November pogroms of 1938 were the first highlight of the systematic persecution of Jews by the National Socialists. Austria has learned its lesson. But the responsibility does not only fall on the state.

On the evening of November 9, 1938, the furor of the Nazi regime broke out for the first time in what is now Austria, led by the rulers of the Nazi state. Hundreds of synagogues burned in the German Reich and mobs looted and destroyed Jewish shops. Four people were murdered in Innsbruck.
After that night it was clear that Adolf Hitler and his henchmen did not want to stop at legal discrimination against the Jews. The end result was the Holocaust with six million dead Jews and countless victims of other minorities. Auschwitz and Treblinka give a name to industrial mass murder and the loss of all humanity.
Past? Yes. But a story that is frighteningly current. Austria has had difficulty dealing with her for a long time. Even in the 1980s, the ÖVP and its presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim were able to successfully dismiss his false statements about his role in the Second World War with a “now more than ever.”
It was only in the 1990s that Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and Thomas Klestil admitted shared responsibility for the barbaric history. Austria as a state did not exist at that time. But the Austrians rebuilt their state after 1945. Some were victims of the Nazis. But others were accomplices, followers or simply looked the other way.
After 1945 everyone wanted to look the other way. Today, the recognition of historical responsibility is red-white-red reason of state. The Republic has increased its support for the Jewish community and the prohibition law is to be tightened. The support for the Jewish state of Israel is intended to underline that Austria has learned. This includes the unconditional condemnation of Hamas’ terror, which has brought back the trauma of the Holocaust to Jews all over the world.
It is easy to hide behind a confession, no matter how impressively presented. But anti-Semitism has always been present in Austria – and has even increased since the escalation in the Middle East. Hasty apportionment of blame is of no use. The search for the causes must be possible without taboos and must also address sensitive topics such as migration.
But we also have to ask ourselves personally whether we have learned enough. There were perpetrators, followers and victims on the night of the pogrom and in the Nazi state. Do we dare to say where we would have been?

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