We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation from fascism. Exactly 60 years ago the leadership of the German Wehrmacht signed the capitulation. Yesterday in the former concentration camp (KZ) of Mauthausen and in Vienna thousands of people showed their opposition to war and to fascism.
Since 1947 the committee of the former KZ-prisoners from Mauthausen have been commemorating the liberation of the camp in the early days of May. This year some 21,000 antifascists from 51 different countries, among them several hundred former prisoners who survived the barbaric conditions in Mauthausen – one of the most terrible concentration camps in the “Third Reich” – attended the International Commemoration Ceremony in Mauthausen.
This year again there was a very impressive delegation of the trade union youth organisation and especially of the Young Socialists who were the last group to enter the camp as a signal that the youth is continuing the struggle against war and fascism. Most of the activists were dressed in the traditional blue shirts (symbol of the workers’ youth movement since the days of the struggle against fascism), carried red banners and sang antifascist and socialist workers’ songs. In Mauthausen the labour movement lost some of its best comrades, and they will always be in our minds as we continue the struggle against this system of exploitation and oppression.
In the evening in Vienna the Young Socialists, the Marxist tendency of “Der Funke” and some other left wing organisations, organised a very loud and militant antifascist demo to prevent a planned march taking place by the Nazis who wanted to commemorate the victims of the defeat of Hitler Germany in WW II.
Every year this march is an important event for the elite of the Austrian Nazi organisations, at the head of which stand the extreme right wing and Nazi corporations in the universities. It is also an event where openly fascist forces and the extreme right wing in the Freedom Party come together. Over the last few years, representatives of the extreme right wing of the Freedom Party have given the main speeches. Again this year, Andreas Mölzer (MEP of the FP) was supposed to speak at the march. But a few days ago he decided to refuse because of the big public debate in relation to some openly revisionist declarations of Mr. Gudenus (MP of the FP) and Mr. Kampl (MP of the BZÖ, Jörg Haider’s new party).
In the end the Nazis decided it was better for them not to seek open conflict. The prospect of a much stronger antifascist demo made them rethink their plans. In the end they decided simply to lay a wreath early in the morning at the historic Heldenplatz, where Adolf Hitler in 1938 had been welcomed by a mass of Nazi supporters, but they called off their traditional march in the evening. This was another clear victory for the antifascist movement in Austria.
The antifascist rally took place with some 2000, mainly young, people celebrating the liberation from fascism 60 years ago and to show that the streets are ours and that we will not accept any further Nazi provocations. To continue the struggle against fascism with militant methods and to link it with the fight against capitalism is the best way to commemorate the comrades in the antifascist resistance and the victims of the barbaric Nazi regime.