Tuesday, 03. March 2015
11. 03. 08. - 14:44
The week commemorating the 70th anniversary of the "Anschluss" or German annexation of Austria in 1938 has proven to be a sensitive occasion as it invokes a period of history that many Austrians would prefer to forget.
Otto von Habsburg, the son of the last Austrian Emperor Karl I, has aroused controversy because of his remarks at an ÖVP event commemorating the Anschluss.
Habsburg, 95, claimed that "there is no country in Europe that has a better claim to be a victim of the Nazis."
He also called the 1943 Allied Declaration of Moscow assigning Austria part of the blame for World War II "one of the worst instances of hypocrisy and deceit in history."
Habsburg added that it was natural that so many Austrians had turned out to hear Hitler speak at the Heldenplatz on March 13, 1938 since people had been curious about him.
Habsburg admitted that there had been "60,000 people there" but added that the same number regularly attended football games. He received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.
In response, SPÖ Defence Minister Norbert Darabos called Habsburg's remarks "unacceptable" and "a veritable democratic-political scandal" that had "insulted the victims of National Socialism." He called on the ÖVP to distance itself from them.
Darabos recalled that former SPÖ Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in remarks to the Israeli Knesset had correctly portrayed Austria in 1938 after "years of ignorance."
The minister added that "collective consciousness-building" had occurred since Vranitzky's remarks, which should have laid the groundwork for "a basic national consensus."
Darabos stressed that Austria had a responsibility to tell the truth about the past rather than to distort it. He also deplored the standing ovation that Habsburg had received.
ÖVP military spokesman Walter Murauer came to Habsburg's defence, stressing that his remarks had focussed on states rather than on people.
Murauer claimed that there was another reality behind the mass of people who listened to Hitler on the Heldenplatz: "thousands in the resistance and thousands in prison waiting to be transported to (Nazi concentration camp) Dachau" near Munich.
Murauer also recalled that Mexico had been the only country formally to protest the Anschluss and that (former Austrian Chancellor Engelbert) Dollfuß had been the only head of government in Europe to have been murdered by the Nazis.
As for Darabos, Murauer said that the minister "would be well-advised to avoid populist potshots against an honourable European of the highest calibre."
Semmering Offers 50% Discount To Selected Heroes
The Magic Mountain Semmering will hold two Weeks of Heroes from 1st to 14th March as Panhans Holding Group says thank you to safety and well-being volunteers and professionals.
Skier Survived Almost Two Hours Buried Alive
A skier had a miracle escape after being buried under two metres of snow for nearly two hours during an avalanche in Austria, it was revealed last night.
Puppies Found Stuffed Inside Suitcase In Back Of Van
A litter of puppies destined for a dog farm was rescued after being found stuffed inside suitcases in the back of a van.
Kangaroo That Hopped It Spotted In Garden
Austrian police investigating reports of an escaped kangaroo have been given concrete proof after a local woman managed to photograph the animal in her back garden.
First Images Of Eurovision Stage
These are the first images of the design for the Eurovision Song Contest stage unveiled in the Austrian capital Vienna which is the home of last year's winner Conchita Wurst.
Russian Mafia Boss Nabbed At Vienna Railway Station
A Russian mobster wanted for a string of brutal murders was arrested in the gentile Austrian capital Vienna when commandos swooped as he went to buy a train ticket.
Teen Girls Arrested After Offering Themselves To IS Fighters
Austrian officials who recently cracked down on terrorism by arresting several people believed to be recruiting and fundraising for ISIS have revealed two more teenage girls tried to leave the country to marry terrorist fighters.
Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student
Austria has yet to record its first case of Ebola, but the feared virus has already had a severe impact on the lives of Africans living in Vienna.
Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus
Whilst the world-famous Wizard of Oz played at the Volksoper, there was another Wizard in the Konzerthaus giving his 16th performance in Vienna!
Penelope Cruz To Play The Ice Cream Killer
The memoirs of the woman dubbed the Ice Cream Killer after she shot dead two ex-lovers before hacking the bodies up with a chainsaw and telling neighbours the noise was a new ice cream machine are due to be turned into a blockbuster with Penelope Cruz playing the lead role.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Porn Star Arrested After High Speed Police Chase|
|Wanted Mafia Boss Captured After YouTube Baptism|
|Mentally Ill Girl Locked Up By Parents For 6 Years|
|River Turned Into Motorway In China|
|Tokyo Hotel For Godzilla Fans With Giant Monster Head On Top|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.