Director Barbara Glück looks back on the commemoration year 2018

19.12.2018

Director Barbara Glück looks back on the commemoration year 2018
(Fotocredit: KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen)

Photo gallery (18)

Dear Sir/Madam,

We look back on a truly memorable year of memory 2018, one that my team and I will remember for many years to come. Unfortunately I don’t have enough space here to document in full all the highlights of the 2018 year of memory. Nevertheless, please take a moment to read my review of the Mauthausen Memorial’s most important events of the year.

One particularly moving project this year was the book presentation of Pavel Branko’s Gegen den Strom (‘Against the Current’). It’s remarkable that this man and his tireless lifelong struggle against fascism and oppression have outlived all regimes.

One organisation that can be very proud of its contribution to the 2018 memorial year is the Austrian Federal Railways, ÖBB. In this anniversary year the company has managed to work through its corporate history between 1938 and 1945 in an exemplary way in the form of the exhibition Verdrängte Jahre (‘Suppressed Years’) at the Mauthausen Memorial.

Our highlight in this memorial year 2018 was the ‘Commemorative Event against Racism and Violence’ in the Hofburg palace in Vienna and the subsequent liberation celebrations throughout Austria. The Mauthausen Memorial had the opportunity to present its work to the whole of the country, and the lively interest in the commemorations can be interpreted as a clear signal of how centrally the culture of memory is embedded today in the collective consciousness of the Austrian republic. 

In June we were able to present one more volume of our Mauthausen Studies. The social study ‘Prisoner Behavior and Social System in Nazi Concentration Camps’ by the American sociologist Elmer Luchterhand was the first of its kind and its insights remain an important historical source for concentration-camp research. Preparing a new German edition titled ‘Einsame Wölfe und stabile Paare. Über das Verhalten und Sozialordnung in den Häftlingsgesellschaften nationalsozialistischer Konzentrationslager’ was an essential task for us. 

We programmed August and September at the Memorial with the film retrospective and the 10th Dialogue Forum. These are two central events that, every year, are proof for me that the culture of memory is still living and breathing thanks to an active young generation of researchers and an interested public.

To support this young generation in its work, this year we’ve inaugurated the Mauthausen Memorial Research Prize. A prize that from now on will be awarded to young researchers every two years for outstanding achievements in concentration-camp research.

Another important project this year was the presentation of the OGM study on ‘Effectiveness and Name Recognition of Mauthausen Memorial’, initiated by the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria. We can be thoroughly proud of the finding that 96 per cent of Austrians are aware of the Mauthausen Memorial.

Towards the end of the year we were able to complete two other excellent projects, the book presentations ‘Schluss mit Schuld’ by the two ORF journalists Lisa Gadenstätter and Elisabeth Gollackner and the 12th volume of our Mauthausen Studies ‘… alles eine Fortsetzung von Dachau und Mauthausen?’ by Bernhard Kathan.

And in addition to all that  – and here I must offer my heartfelt thanks to my whole team – we have moved into our new Viennese offices at Argentinierstraße 13. Look out for more on this on this over the course of the next year.

At this point I’d like to thank State Secretary Karoline Edtstadler, our loudest voice in the public sphere. Her initiative to offer every school pupil the opportunity to go to Mauthausen once in their education is a strong and important act of support for our work.

It only remains for me to thank you for your support and your interest and, on behalf of myself and my team, to wish you all the best for 2019.

Yours faithfully,

Barbara Glück

and the team of the Mauthausen Memorial