Saturday, 01. November 2014
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."
Halloween At The Zoo
Pumpkin pie might be the order of the day for people this Halloween but now zoo animals are also getting in on the act.
Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna
With their pink hairless bodies and fangs for front teeth, these baby naked mole rats were never going to win any cuteness contests at Schonbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.
Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home
Austrian anti-terrorism police believe that an interview given to a French magazine allegedly with one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria to join in the jihad was probably carried out at gunpoint.
Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again
A rare bald Ibis that seems to have a different sense of direction to her fellow birds has once again had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to find a different route to the southern Italian feeding ground.
Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier
Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to "look and smell like outer space".
MEP caught In Brit papers Fraud Probe Jailed
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been given a three-year-jail term.
Vienna Jihad Girls Want To Come Home
The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning.
Apple Truck Causes Traffic Jam
When 24 tonnes of apples are catapulted across a road it can only mean a jam.
Farmer Cleared Over Wolf Shooting
Furious animal rights campaigners have accused an Austrian farmer of lying after he shot dead a wolf that he claimed he thought was a fox.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home|
|Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna|
|Dim Romeo Burns Down College During Failed Proposal|
|Halloween At The Zoo|
|Brit That Saved Kids From Nazis Gets Top Honour|
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.