Austrian president seeks to reassure Holocaust survivors on government

By REUTERS
January 11, 2018 18:01
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VIENNA - Austria's president pledged to be vigilant against anti-Semitism and xenophobia on Thursday after a Holocaust survivors group expressed concern about the new government that includes a far-right party founded by former Nazis.

Last month the Freedom Party (FPO) entered government as the junior coalition partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives after a parliamentary election in which both pledged to stop illegal immigration and to fight radical Islam.

"For me, the coalition with the far-right FPO... poses a danger for Austria," 94-year-old Austrian Holocaust survivor Aba Lewit said in an open letter published by the Austrian Mauthausen Committee, which represents survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp in northern Austria.

"I will work to ensure for the duration of my tenure that destructive nationalism, xenophobia, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism have no place in Austria," President Alexander Van der Bellen replied.

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