Conscientious Deserters Recognised

Austrian News Brief: May 2012

The City of Vienna announced plans to erect by 2013 Austria’s first monument to soldiers who deserted the Wehrmacht, the National Socialist army but the memorial’s location is still undecided.

The pressure group Gerechtigkeit für die Opfer der NS-Militärjustiz (Justice for the Victims of NS Military Prosecutions) wants the Heldenplatz to host the monument, to set a signal against the square’s use by right-wing groups to commemorate fallen Wehrmacht soldiers every 8 May.

David Ellensohn, spokesperson of Vienna’s Green Party said the Heldenplatz would be a “good location”, but that his party was also open to alternatives provided that the monument was not “not hidden away somewhere.”

The commitment to erect the memorial was part of the city government’s coalition agreement between Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Greens in November 2011; it will be the first memorial for Wehrmacht deserters in Austria, while Germany already has about 30 such monuments, ORF reported.

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