60 years of the DÖW: “Indispensable in a difficult environment” for van der Bellen

The Archives of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW) celebrated its 60th anniversary with a ceremony on Wednesday evening. Federal President Alexander van der Bellen In his speech at the event at the Vienna City Hall, the DÖW hailed the DÖW as “an important pillar in the struggle to come to terms with our dark, ruthless history,” but also “an important pillar in the fight against resistance.” Liberal and Authoritarian Tendencies Today”.

There is a clear commitment from politicians to continue to support the DÖW's work, Van der Bellen stressed: “It cannot be that we now draw a line in the sand.” Liberal democracy must be maintained and strengthened – “especially as the environment has become more difficult.” “We are in a situation that we could not have imagined a few years ago,” the federal president said, pointing to rising anti-Semitism. The DÖW is “an indispensable element in the network against the enemies of the open society.”

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In its 60 years, the archive has become a “central core of resistance research,” as well as research into victims and perpetrators of the Nazi era, said Education Minister Martin Polashek (ÖVP). At the same time, the DÖW was an important authority in the fight against anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.

Mayor of Vienna Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) expressed concern about the increasing networking of right-wing extremist groups in Europe and the support of groups that want to destroy a common Europe. Ludwig warned that this is not about party politics but a debate about the principles of our democracy. Like his predecessor and now chairman of the DÖW Foundation Board, Michael Häupl (SPÖ), he resisted attacks by the FPÖ and other right-wing groups against the DÖW. “If you deny the scientific nature of a scientific institution, you also deny its right to exist,” Häupl criticized.

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To mark the anniversary, a scientific symposium will be held on Thursday and Friday, where experts will discuss current counter-terrorism and right-wing extremism research.

The DÖW was founded in 1963 by former resistance fighters and scientists and has been a foundation since 1983. Research and communication content focuses on the topics of resistance and persecution in Austria 1933-38 and 1938-45, the Holocaust, Roma and Sindi, deportations, Nazi medical crimes, Nazi and postwar justice, and the right. Extremism, anti-Semitism, recovery and reparations after 1945.

Last year, the DÖW was officially appointed by the Turquoise-Green government to prepare a report on right-wing extremism. The first report is due in autumn 2024. Annual donations from the Ministry of Education and the City of Vienna are increased to 855,000 euros each by the end of 2023. In addition to covering extraordinary inflationary costs, this will enable the company to expand several areas and prepare for the company's planned move from the old town hall to the Otto Wagner area, explained DÖW President Andreas Gränbiter in a press release.

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