On 8th and 9th of May, the 75th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi fascism, anti-fascists in different parts of Austria held celebrations, and at several memorial places this important heritage was held high. Because the day is celebrated by those who have won.
The victory against fascism brought great achievements, which were fought in the service the people. At the same time we see that today more and more repressive measures are being taken against the workers and the people. Therefore, to celebrate the 8th /9th of May in a struggling way is a living tradition, which also today confronts us with tasks.
The history of the antifascist resistance in Austria can teach us a lot. For this reason anti-fascists and revolutionaries of Turkey and Austria drove together to Mauthausen, where the liberation celebration was canceled this year because of the pandemic, and held this important day high. At the monument of the glorious Soviet Union they stood up and two speeches were held, in Turkish and German, also to draw attention to the struggle against fascism and imperialism today. In the speech it was said: „The Allies, at the head of which was the Soviet Union, have defeated the beast of German fascism with the help of millions of partisans, people’s war, resistance fighters and antifascists. This event changed the course of history and gives all antifascist and progressive forces important lessons and a big mission till today.“
Anti-fascist activists in Vienna visited a memorial place in the 16th district of Ottakring, a traditional workers‘ district of Vienna. At “Ottakring Sandleithenhof”, anti-fascist historians erected a memorial where sound recordings of contemporary witnesses can be listened to, such as the KJV (Communist Youth Association) member Paul Vodicka, who himself was part of disarmament actions at the end of World War II. On 7th of April in 1945, in the midst of the stormy struggle about Vienna, some young people from the Communist Youth Association organized disarmament actions from this courtyard. The result was that the district could be handed over to the Red Army without armed struggle.
This spirited action was met with great admiration by the anti-fascists: „You never learn something like this at school“, said one activist. „You often don`t learn about traditions in your own country.“ One activist said: „May 8th is more and more overshadowed. At this time of the year, the official Austrian talk is mainly about Mother’s Day. It was incredible what the resistance fighters achieved. The antifascist resistance was very broad and included tens of thousands of people, but you always hear very little about it, especially about the communists, although they were the leading force in the resistance.“
Later that day, the anti-fascists gathered for a picnic in a busy park in a Viennese working class district. „8th of May is a living tradition“, said one activist „Or shouldn’t we defend the victory over fascism just today? Already in 1935 the Bulgarian communist Georgi Dimitrov observed that: „before the establishment of fascist dictatorship, bourgeois governments usually go through a series of preparatory stages and carry out a series of reactionary actions, which directly promote the rise of fascism to power.“ And don’t we see this today? Neutrality exists only on paper, militarization is increasing, and at the same time democratic rights such as freedom of assembly are being cut back, while monitoring is increasing. The exploitation of the oppressed countries, also by Austria, is taking on ever greater proportions. It is necessary to struggle, therefore the activists made a banner with the inscription „75 years 8 of May – Resist and combat! Against militarization, monitoring and repression“, which was very much welcomed by all participants and was also well received by the other park visitors.
Also anti-fascists from other areas emphasized above all the important task of the struggle against repression:
Anti-fascists in Tyrol painted a slogan with the inscription „Long live the 75th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi fascism“.
Also the monument of the Red Army on Schwarzenbergplatz in Vienna was visited: „This monument reminds us that the oppressed all over the world united struggled for liberation. This worldwide United Front was led by the Soviet Union, which also made the main contribution to liberation. 27 million Soviet citizens gave their lives for world peace, against exploitation and oppression. Especially in Austria, where this historical fact is constantly disregarded, it is therefore particularly important on 8th of May to commemorate those, thanks to whom Austria exists today as a nation in its own right. The slogan „Death to fascism, freedom to the people!“ was shouted from the top of their voices and many lively discussions were held. The numerous people present showed great interest in the action and in the slogans of the banners. A very touching postcard, which lay in the sea of flowers at the foot of the monument, testifies to the fact that there are many in Austria who uphold liberation. At the end of this great day, flowers were laid down by the activists in memory of those who gave their lives for the liberation. „So that the world will know freedom from the plague of fascism.“
On the 75th anniversary of the liberation from Nazi fascism and the final surrender of the brown plague, anti-fascists also visited monuments in Linz. Especially the communist Sepp Teufel was remembered and honored. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Austrian Communist Party under the heavy conditions of Nazi fascism. Sepp Teufel lived and struggled in Linz, against Austrofascism as well as against the Nazi fascists. A few days before liberation he was brutally murdered in Mauthausen. „In Linz there is a memorial plaque in honor of the immortal comrade Sepp Teufl and also a street is named after him. We visited these places, held small speeches, attached flags and distributed leaflets about the life and work of Sepp Teufl“, said an activist from Linz.
The anti-fascists did not only keep up a tradition with their actions, but filled it up with life for today: The oppressed, the workers and the people must resist with all their strength the further attacks of capital and establish a solidarity which is not just lip-swear, but a solidarity in common effort for freedom and socialism!
Long live the 75th anniversary of liberation!
Resist and combat, against monitoring, militarisation and repression!
Death to fascism! Freedom to the people!