POssibly the greatest cover-up in modern history occured when the Allies after the war declared that Austria had been an occupied country. On the contrary, it was not, and many historians have revealed the horrors of Nazi Austria. The majority of concentration camp commanders were Nazis’s, two million Austrians served willingly in the Nazi forces, a large proportion in the SS, and during the first period of the Anschluss even hardened German Nazi’s were appalled at the excesses to which the Austrians went in their tormenting of and murder of the Jews.
WE all know of the Waldheim case (Or ought to know) and of the Austrian propensity for national racial clealiness, but now the Vienna Philharmonic is revealing its sordid history. Half the members were Nazi’s, great friends of the gauleiter of Vienna, Von Schirach and drove out all the Jewish members of the orchestra. Most died in concentration camp, none returned to the orchestra. The New Year Strauss concerts held by the Orchestra were initited by the Nazis in 1939, and the Sound of Music was possibly the heaviest smokescreen layed down as late as in the 1960’s. It depicted a majority of innocents fleeing a rabid minority. The opposite was the case, so poor Julie Andrews and what’s his face von Trapp will have that included in their legacies.
The scenes of frantic joy when Hitler rode into Vienna, with millions on the streets welcoming their return to the Greater Reich cannot be ignored.For those wishing to know more; Evan Burr Bukey ; HItlers Austria- POpular sentiment in the Nazi era 1938-1945 makes excellent reading.
But alas, the Sound of Music and its simplistic theme has done more damage to revealing the horrors of Nazi Austria than any other single event and generations may continue to think that the Austrians were opponenets of Hitler when they most certainly were not. So next time you listen to the New Year Concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic, do try to recall the origins.
The Hills were alive with the sound of marching.