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07 Mar 2008 - AJR statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Anschluss

AJR statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Anschluss

As the largest UK organisation representing and supporting Holocaust survivors and refugees, the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) recalls the tragic events of 13 March 1938, the Anschluss, which formally incorporated the territory of Austria into the German Reich and which signalled Nazi Germany’s aims to conquer Europe.

The annexation immediately brought persecution to Austrian Jews, many of whom were forced to scrub the streets of Vienna as a humiliating punishment.

From a pre-war population of around 180,000, some 65,000 Austrian Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, many having been deported to killing centres in other European countries.

AJR Chairman, Andrew Kaufman, said:

“For Austrian Holocaust survivors and refugees this sombre and painful anniversary marks one of the key stages in the history of the Holocaust, when overnight tens of thousands of Jews became subject to Nazi racial laws and when the megalomaniac aims of Nazi Germany were demonstrated. As well as reflecting, and remembering those who perished, this anniversary should challenge us all to educate society against the dangers of discrimination and intolerance and speak out to combat racism.”