30th anniversary of the Terezín Initiative Foundation Celebration

23. 02. 2024

At the end of last year, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Terezín Initiative Foundation, which transformed into our current Institute a couple years later. The highlight of the commemorative events for this anniversary was a reception that took place at the end of February in the ceremonial premises of the residence of the Austrian Embassy in Prague. We were honored to have been joined by the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Miloš Vystrčil, as well as by the Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Olga Richterová.

The reception was also attended by ambassadors of countries with which our Institute has long cooperated.

Among the guests were also some of those who were at the birth of our institution 30 years ago, colleagues from Jewish communities and other important personalities. The speeches at the ceremony included the importance of constantly remembering the legacy of Shoah. From humble beginnings, when Holocaust survivors tried to compile the first comprehensive historical materials based on almost unavailable archival materials, but mainly on their own memories and personal testimonies, the agenda has grown to quite extensive proportions. Our institute still builds on these foundations for further research work, but also organises many commemorative events and, last but not least, very successful seminars for teachers on the subject of the Holocaust. Our founding fathers and mothers had, above all, in mind that their suffering and that of their loved ones should never be forgotten. This memento gradually became a general warning, applicable to the whole of society. We have unfortunately been reminded of how extremely timely it is more and more recently.

We were therefore very pleased to hear words of appreciation from both President Vystrčil and Ambassador Bettina Kirnbauer, who was instrumental in bringing us together at the Austrian Embassy (which, by the way, was once owned by Fred Astaire's family). The long-standing relationship of our Institute to Austria is based primarily on the involvement of Austrian volunteers from the Gedenkdienst organization in our work. Every year we can welcome among us a student with an interest in our work, who is also an important support to us.

We want to continue to maintain and expand all this. In this way we want to fulfil the memento of those who survived the horrors of Nazism and expressed it succinctly:

Never Again! The world does not seem to have heard them. That is why their legacy and their work must be continued by us and by many who will come after us.

JUDr. Tomáš Kraus
Director of the Terezin Initiative Institute