Being an association of the majority of the memorial’s guides we have on several occasions made public commentaries about its future. In these instances we have always called for including the wider public and the people involved in these discussions as opposed to limiting these debates to the realm of ministries and their officials. Sadly, this has not been happening. We do support the transfer from the Ministry of Interior – However, this draft law does not live up to its own ambitions at all.
Whatever happened to the transfer?
Although its naming does indeed imply a transfer, this draft law does not intend it. The memorial will be kept under control and its managament will even stay dependent on the ministry, while the parliament will lose its voice. We, the guides, regard it to be a matter of utmost importance that the memorial became independant politically and not just formally – For it should obtain a kind of autonomy that has been crucial in the development of similar institutions.
Whatever happened to the civil society?
This draft law details a decision-making board that is appointed by ministries rather than representatives of a trans-disciplinary civil and researcher’s community. This supervisory board can hence not be regarded as independant – especially not from party politics. The same problem applies to the scientific advisory board: It will be appointed by the management and can thus run the risk of being intermingled with party politics. The societal board is not equipped with any authority but has an advisory role only. It is only an illusion of an inclusion of the civil society, as the board will be dominated by unions and social partners.
Whatever happened to the international dimension?
We regard the memorial to be an international place. This applies to its historical dimension on the one hand and to its function as a place of historic-political educational encounters on the other. The new draft law hardly even considers this degree of internationality and reduces it to the mentioning of the Comité International de Mauthausen. A greater involvement of international actors and players is necessary. We need those international players to be a part of the memorial’s organisational structure instead of this so very Austrian, self-sufficient solution.
Guide Initiative (Initiative of Educators at the Mauthausen/Gusen Memorial)