Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai (Labor) on Tuesday morning attended Austria’s national Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Judenplatz in Vienna.
Dr. Shai joined Wolfgang Sobotka, president of the Austrian National Council, government officials and dignitaries, and local Jewish communal leaders at the event marking 83 years to the start of the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht).
Following the event, Minister Shai spoke with President Sobotka and warned against the rising tides of anti-Semitism, stating:
“Hate against the Jewish people has taken on new and vicious forms throughout Europe and the world in recent years,” he said. “In Austria last year, anti-Semitic incidents rose by 6.4% with 585 cases reported online and offline. The COVID-19 pandemic has become the most recent event to weaponize the Jewish people as a scapegoat.”
Minister Shai continued: “Anti-Semitism is not an issue that Israel, nor the greater Jewish people, can solve alone. It is the responsibility of nations and institutions around the world to take action. The State of Israel appreciates the commitment of the Austrian government to preserve Jewish life through its investment in community security and adoption of a national strategy to combat anti-Semitism. We will work in partnership with you to ensure that Austria – and all of Europe — is a place where the Jewish people can live fully and securely.”
Minister Shai will join Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg later on Tuesday for the official opening of the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial, located in Ostarrichi park. The memorial pays tribute to the 64,000 Austrian Jewish children, women, and men who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Minister Shai is currently in Austria for a number of events related to Holocaust memory and combatting anti-Semitism. On Thursday (November 11), Minister Shai will address a ceremony marking the Austrian national football team’s adoption of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.