Monday, November 23, 2009

Experience Austria?

Listening to an mp3 from WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. from the 5th of October.

The podcast opens with a commercial from the Austrian tourism authority, experienceaustria.comm. 

"Austria is the birthplace of filmmakers Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder. In Austria you can see where they got their inspiration."

All of these artists happened to be Jews who emigrated to the US (some via France) to flee the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria.

I'm not a Godwinner, and I don't believe we can hold contemporary Germans culpable for the deeds of the Nazis. On the contrary, they have been exemplary. Austria, not so much, but I'm still not going to raise my hand and say, "Hitler was Austrian, too". But when the Austrian government forces the question by using persecuted Austrian Jews to sell ski trips to Innsbruck, they do seem to be asking for it, don't they?

So... "Austria is the birthplace of dictator Adolf Hitler. In Austria, you can see where he got his inspiration." Try Carinthia, I hear it's a great place to start.


Am I wrong to find this grossly offensive? Not so sure... Here's an extract, verbatim, from the "History" section of the website:

"In 1918 the first Republic of Austria was established, ending the 640-year old Habsburg dynasty. The young republic suffered massive inflation, unemployment, and near economic collapse. In 1933, the weak coalition government between the Christian-Social and the Social-Democratic parties gave way when Engelbert Dollfuss became Chancellor in 1932 as head of a right-wing coalition government, designed to tackle the problems caused by the Depression. In May 1934 Doffluss declared martial law in order to protect Austria from Hitler. In July Dollfuss was shot and killed by Nazis in an attempted coup.

On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria and the country was incorporated into the German Reich ruled by Adolf Hitler. After the end of World War II in 1945, Austria was restored to its 1937 frontiers and occupied by the victorious allies – the USA, the Soviet Union, the UK, and France – for a decade. "

Let's do a word count:

For the 1930s: 65 words.
For the Anschluss and WWII: 22.

And the regime of Dolfuss, known as Austrofascism, subverted the democratic Constitution and paved the way for the Anschluss by Austrian and German Nazis.

They're asking for it...

1 comment:

Kati said...

Marc, glad you caught that. It is indeed so very offensive.

I'm glad you did a word count on the history. That's still one of the original tried and true techniques of text analysis...

I like your paraody with Hitler being born in Austria!