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Mauthausen Memorial

Mauthausen Memorial

Sunday, 5 May 2013: Two hours out of Vienna, past palatial Melk, across a sweeping plain sprouting green shoots and golden raps, picking up the coursing Donau, veering through a biscuit-box village into leaden Erinnerungstraße past retinues of police and a rickety hunter’s lookout, the bus lurches at the shoulder of a granite-grey wall. The […]

Reading the Music

Reading the Music

The music of György Ligeti is hard to pin down. It mixes traditional and off-the-wall musical thinking, it is iconic, it is crazy. It asks for phenomenal performers and comparable listeners. And it gives marvellous rewards to both. György Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds is not a biography. It is rather a collection […]

Crossing the Painful Threshold of Memory

Crossing the Painful Threshold of Memory

The doors of Vienna conceal many pleasant surprises: a Baroque courtyard, a fountain or a Renaissance arcade. Others, like those at Salztorgasse 6, reveal a history of nightmare, one that takes time to tell, and sometimes even longer to set in stone. For decades the moulded iron doors in an unremarkable post-war structure stood closed, […]

Remembering the Wall

Remembering the Wall

“It went up brick by brick,” says a blonde woman, her eyes red as she recalls the scene she witnessed as a little girl fifty years ago. “From time to time, people on the other side waved to us.” She stops to stare down Bernauer Strasse. “My uncle lived here, they came to his home […]

This time of mourning

For an hour, we stood wedged inside the Polish Church on the Rennweg. The rotunda of the church was packed; people stood shoulder to shoulder listening to the priest, offering words of comfort during this time of mourning. Outside, the overflowing crowd lingered in front of the entryway, standing on tiptoes, craning their necks to […]

Torture Devices Become Tourism

High above, atop a slender column is Archangel Gabriel. Perched, both hands are full. In his right, the Hungarian Holy Crown of St. Stephan – the first king of Hungary – in his left the king’s two barred apostolic cross, awarded by Pope Gregory VII for ushering Christianity into Hungary. Meters below, mounted around the […]

Jewish Cemeteries Gain More Attention

Jewish cemeteries in Austria, many neglected since before World War II will finally receive financial support from the Austrian government, agreed on a majority in parliament on Fri, Jan. 29. Most of Austria’s 63 Jewish cemeteries are in very bad condition. There were 200,000 Jews registered by the Nazis as living in Austria in 1938 […]

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