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Peace Education

UPF-Austria Holds Memorial for Victims of Mauthausen

Austria-2023-04-23-UPF-Austria Holds Mauthausen Memorial

Linz, Austria—UPF supporters held a memorial ceremony at the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Mauthausen.

An interfaith group of about 20 people met at the camp’s granite quarry on April 23, 2023, to pray for the thousands of prisoners who died at Mauthausen from 1938 to 1945.

Many of these inmates died at the quarry while forced to carry blocks of granite up a steep stairway known as the “Stairs of Death.” They either fell or were pushed to their death or shot by SS guards.

Those attending the ceremony recalled the visit to Mauthausen five years earlier by a large international group of UPF supporters at the request of UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. After visiting the concentration camp on April 30, 2018, they also gathered at the quarry, where Rev. Ki-seong Lee, an assistant of Dr. Moon’s, clad in a traditional Korean costume, offered a moving prayer for the Mauthausen victims.

The prayer in 2023 was followed by a lecture in the House of Remembrance in the nearby town of St. Georgen/Gusen, which was organized by UPF and its affiliated organization Youth and Students for Peace.

Contemporary historian Mischa Gabowitsch explained very clearly how interpretations of history, especially in school textbooks, influence young people in how they later judge current conflicts. He used the example of Soviet and post-Soviet history textbooks.

Responses to the lecture were offered by Ukrainian historian Elizabeth Pashkova and by two historians, teachers and authors, Erwin Dorn and Waltraud Neuhauser-Pfeiffer. The three commentators and Mr. Gabowitsch then answered questions from the audience.

In 2016 the region of Mauthausen-Gusen-St. Georgen joined together to form an “Awareness Region.” Because of the historical burden that was created in the region by the construction and operation of extermination facilities of the National Socialist regime, the citizens aim to contribute to the humanization of society and to prevent such misguided developments in the future.

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