President Van der Bellen to Visit Auschwitz

Alexander Van der Bellen will be taking part in the opening of a new Austrian exhibition at the state museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

President Alexander Van der Bellen is due to visit the former Nazi concentration camp in
Auschwitz, Poland on Monday next week. He will travel with the speaker of parliament Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP), the second speaker of parliament, Doris Bures (SPÖ), and several other ministers.

He will be taking part in the opening of a new Austrian exhibition called “Entfernung – Österreich und Auschwitz” (“Distance – Austria and Auschwitz”) at the state museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to the presidential office and the parliamentary correspondence on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Minister for Europe, Karoline Edtstadler (both VP), Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein (Greens), Secretary of State Andrea Mayer, president of the second chamber of parliament, Peter Raggl (ÖVP, Tyrol), and the governor of Tyrol, Günther Platter will join the president.

The new Austrian exhibition has been historically revised. In the first showing in 1978, Austria still presented itself as the “first victim of National Socialism”, and mostly
ignoring its complicity
. The title “Distance” was not only referring to the geographical distance between Austria and Auschwitz, but also the distance for the people deported to the death camp – from Austria, and from life.

Aside from the fates of Austrian victims in Auschwitz, and the resistance by Austrian prisoners in the death camp, the new exhibition, created by the curator duo Hannes Sulzenbacher and Albert Lichtblau alongside architect Martin Kohlbauer, also examines the involvement of Austrians as perpetrators and abettors of the crimes committed. Austrian federal funding financed the coordination of revising the exhibition.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was the biggest Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. In the former death camp, almost one million people were murdered. They were killed in gas chambers, shot, or killed through forced labor and starvation. Most of the victims were Jewish, but those murdered also included Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and Sinti, Poles, political prisoners, and homosexuals.


Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.

Bruna Novo
Bruna Novo
Brazilian advertising professional living in Vienna. Specialist in social and SEO media management, online reputation, community management, relationship with influencers, and generation of diverse content for multiple channels. Has experience in international team management, intelligent reporting, and online monitoring.

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