Sebastian Knotz, Austrian Gedenkdienst (Remembrance) Service
Sebastian Knotz, a 18-year-old Austrian Gedenkdiener, is currently educating young Quebecers about the atrocities his former countrymen committed during the Holocaust. The Gedenkdienst program was founded by Dr Andreas Maislinger, a political scientist from Innsbruck, Austria who had worked as a volunteer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, where he conceived of the program. In 1991, the Austrian government enacted legislation and Andreas Maislinger began organizing what became known as the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service program (Gedenkdienst). The intent of the program is to recognize Austria’s role in the collective responsibility for the Holocaust and the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that it “never again” happens. It is less than 25 years since the Austrian government has recognized their role as perpetrators of the Nazi genocide, having abandoned their previous position that they were the first victims of the Nazis. During Sebastian’s tenure as an intern at the Kleinmann Family Foundation he has presented a unique multi-media educational program, Moral Responsibility: Witnesses for the Future in several Cegep and high school classes throughout Montreal. The Shoah as well as the Armenian and Rwandan genocides are used as paradigms to address the contemporary need to oppose the worldwide threat engendered by ignorance, indifference, discrimination, racism, and moral cowardice.
Vanier College / Kleinmann Family Foundation 19th Annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide