Skip to content

I am a Witness! 2014

A remembrance soirée by Veronika Barnaš and Susanne Scholl
with accounts, cinematic contributions, performances

Sunday, 9th of November 2014, 19.30, Volkstheater
With: Till Firit, Fanny Krausz, Stefan Horvath, Rosa Gitta Martl (Verein Ketani), romanosvato (Sandra Selimović, Simonida Jovanovic), Dora Schimanko, Anna Femi, Sheri Avraham, Ilja Sichrovsky (Muslim Jewish Conference), Bettel Lobby.

“We must never forget the crimes of this period – and it is all the more reason for us today not to close our eyes to the crimes committed against people and our behaviour towards them – ‘Never again!’ must not become an empty phrase, beyond any comparison and number of victims.

It has been 76 years since Germany and Austria saw Jewish shops plundered, synagogues and temples burning and Jewish people tortured and murdered – and with it the beginning of the Shoah. Yet despite entire generations growing up with the slogan ‘Never again’, it is clear today that the persecution, murder and homicide of people who are not part of the majority is still commonplace. The victims usually don’t have a lobby, and the majority still prefers to look the other way rather than demonstrate courage.
With this in mind, on 9 November 2014 at Volkstheater Vienna, we shall once again remember this atrocity – and condemn the atrocities of the present. Those who experienced and survived murder and persecution back then are witnesses. Yet those who have to run for their lives today – who are certainly not welcomed with open arms in Austria – are also witnesses.

And finally, witnesses are those who know how many people were allowed to die back then by looking the other way, which is also why today they don’t want to look the other way. The focus of this soirée is on witnesses – witnesses to injustice, torture, murder, and persecution, and also witnesses to courage and resistance against inhumanity.” Susanne Scholl

Antisemitism will be addressed, as will racism, various forms of exclusion, and the (linguistic) stigmatisation of less advantaged and marginalised groups in our society, both from the side of politics and by every individual – keywords: the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees, beggars, and homeless people. A special focus will be on the situation of Sinti and Roma back then and now.

Three video interviews guide through the evening: Dora Schimanko (Holocaust survivor), Stefan Horvath (his parents survived concentration camps, his son died in the bomb attack carried out by Franz Fuchs in Oberwart), and also Rosa Gitta Martl and Nicole Sevik (Ketani - Association for Sinti and Roma in Linz). In between, an actress and an actor read out historical and current texts on above mentioned topics taken from legislation, newspapers, interviews, documents, etc. Witnesses from the audience recount their experiences or make statements on the ‘culture of remembrance’.

A joint event with the Austrian Parliament.
‘I Am a Witness’ is dedicated to the memory of Mag. Barbara Prammer.

Photos: Marko Lipuš