Everything is different in 2020. Ways of remembrance on unusual paths

A logbook entry by Antonia Winsauer (translated by Bettina Reiter)

APC base camp and rise

Since the board meeting in September 2019 and the handover of the organisation to us by the previous APC board, we were looking forward to the first APC commemorative hike and the dialogue forum on the last weekend in June 2020. It didn’t take us long to agree on a moto for this year’s events: The dark side of the Alps. Antisemitism then and now. We started preparing the events and were glad that we had support from so many people, who happily answered any questions we had on previous hikes and events: Andrea Mair in Krimml, Gal Talit in Israel, Ernst Löschner and the previous board members, as well as the former managing director. Michael Kerbler soon agreed to host the dialogue event and four speakers for the event were also found. Plus, Forum Alpbach offered an interesting cooperation. Everything was going as planned.

Of fog fields and finding new ways of remembrance

And then Covid-19 spread across the globe and things started to get uncertain. It was declared a pandemic and there were lockdowns all over the world. The annual APC highlight in Krimml as well as the kick-off events, which were to take place in April in Salzburg, Graz and Vienna, were all in limbo for a few weeks. After a few weeks, we had to announce the cancellation of all APC events. Due to the legal situation it was unavoidable.

Now we were faced with the question: How can the thousands of Jews who fled the Krimmler Tauern in 1947 be commemorated in 2020 if Alpine Peace Crossing cannot take place in the usual way? Simply suspending one year was out of the question for us, so we had to find alternative ways of remembering. With the lecture by Hamburg historian Florian Schubert on anti-Semitism in football, we were able to convert one of the planned kick-off events into an online event. Another very sustainable solution to our problem is the Alpendistel – magazine for anti-fascist memorial culture. Thanks to the active support of our authors and our graphic artist, and maybe with a little bit of luck, it was ready in time for the APC weekend at the end of June. Our alpine thistle should show problematic forms of commemoration once a year, break through social patterns, commemorate new ways, remember, and encourage action. Every year it will have a new main topic. However great these things are, we still wanted to find a way to do our hike.

Of snow fields and a pass not crossed

The board of APC started on Friday, June 12th, from Salzburg, Graz and Vienna towards Krimml. There we moved into our quarters in the Krimmler Tauernhaus and left on Saturday morning to walk a part of the historic escape route. Over the grove of the escape in the Achental, we went along waterfalls to the Windbachalm, after a short refreshment we continued, brooks and snow fields were crossed, the path was steeper and more difficult, the snow fields became larger, the slopes steeper, but the grazing sheep herds did not get smaller. In the early afternoon we reached the Krimmler Tauern Pass, where we had to turn around after a short look into the snow-covered South Tyrol – the border to Italy was only supposed to open again a few days later. Again we went down snow fields and babbling brooks along the APC peace pyramids and in the evening we reached our high camp, the Krimmler Tauernhaus.