Torres reaffirms the Government of Spain's commitment to Democratic Memory in Mauthausen

News - 2024.5.5

5/05/2024. Torres reaffirms the Government of Spain's commitment to Democratic Memory in Mauthausen. The ministers for Territorial Policy an... The ministers for Territorial Policy and Democratic Memory, Ángel Víctor Torres, and for Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and 2030 Agenda, Pablo Bustinduy, at the commemoration ceremony of the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp

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These declarations were made in Mauthausen (Austria) during international events this Sunday in memory of the victims of Nazism, on the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp. The events were attended by a delegation from the Government of Spain headed by Minister Torres and the Minister for Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and 2030 Agenda, Pablo Bustinduy. They were joined by the Secretary of State for Democratic Memory, Fernando Martínez, and the Spanish Ambassador to Austria, Aurora Mejía.

For Torres, Mauthausen "will always be linked to our history and there is no more solemn place than here to reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the mistakes that led us to the abyss are not repeated".

Torres insisted that it is important for European youth to know history well so as not to fall into the traps of revisionism and historical denialism of the extreme right, "to never take anything for granted, to fight for the preservation of freedom and to build democracy day by day, which is as precious as it is fragile", he remarked. He acknowledged that what happened here may seem distant to younger people, "but they should know that the freedoms they enjoy today were the freedoms for which the people who suffered here fought".

The Government of Spain's commitment to Democratic Memory

Ángel Víctor Torres has underlined "the Government of Spain's commitment to show the firmest determination to enforce the Law on Democratic Memory in every corner of Spain".

"The victims and their families are protected by international law. The UN rapporteurs have recently recalled this in a strong statement that warns that these laws that the right-wing and ultra-right are trying to promote in some autonomous communities in Spain contravene human rights and make the victims of Franco's regime invisible. Laws that equate dictatorship with democratic periods such as the Second Republic", he added.

The minister stressed that "freedom, democracy and the rule of law are built day by day. These are historic achievements of incalculable value, but at the same time fragile, if we do not persevere permanently in their care. It is our responsibility to maintain and disseminate the memory".

Torres explained the example of many young students from different countries, who today walk through the camp, often moved and crying, when they learn about the horror that many men and women suffered here, including more than 7,000 Spaniards. "He told these young people that words are the weapon we have today to defend what we think, to convince and that we should shake hands in a debate and not pull the trigger to kill those who think differently from us, those who believe that there is a racial supremacy and that is why they can crush those who are different. I cry out here today, as the prisoners who were released in this place 79 years ago cried out, 'never again', because today there are still movements that seek to return to the worst of the recent history of our country and of Europe.

Tribute to those who suffered the horror at Mauthausen-Gusen

Today's events were held in memory of the 10,000 Spaniards who suffered the horror of the Nazi concentration camps and were condemned to silence and oblivion. More than 7,500 prisoners who had already suffered the worst consequences of the Spanish War were transferred to Mauthausen-Gusen and ended up in this place known as the Spanish camp. Only a third of them survived. The US Army liberated the survivors in May 1945.

Inauguration of the exhibition Mauthausen: Shared Memories

An exhibition organised by the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Democratic Memory and the Centro Sefarad-Israel, with the aim of reflecting on the memory of the Jewish deportees and Spanish Republicans who were interned in the Mauthausen concentration camp between 1940 and 1945, was inaugurated in pavilion number 11.

Mauthausen: Shared Memories features reproductions of photographs, mostly taken by Francisco Boix, and original documents from the archives of the Mauthausen Memorial. It also includes survivors' accounts of encounters between Spanish deportees and Sephardic Jews. With this material, the aim is to humanise the tragedy, to listen to the deportees themselves tell their shared stories, rescuing from oblivion the collaboration and goodwill of men and women who, in extreme conditions of suffering, were able to continue believing in the solidarity of peoples without losing faith in the human being.

In addition to opening the exhibition, the ministers also attended the main parade of the commemorative events and took part in the wreath laying at the monument dedicated to the Spanish Republicans and in the events that also took place in front of the monuments paying tribute to the peoples of France, Ukraine, the Jewish people and the Roma people.

Non official translation