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By bliba  
Heroes' Square
Vienna's highly symbolic Heldenplatz is a place of remembrance for the historical and moral identity of Austrians
Heldenplatz is located in the immediate vicinity of the state's main institutional centres: the Presidential Chancellery, the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The square is an extraordinarily powerful complex in terms of area and is located between the Hofburg and the Ringstrasse. Originally, Heldenplatz was designed for parades and rallies - but also as a place of conscious symbolic representation.

Heldenplatz until 1945
There is no other place in Vienna where the Austrian history of the last 100 years can be read as clearly as at Heldenplatz: World War I (1914-1918), the decline of the monarchy, the period of the First Republic and Austrofascism (1918-1938) up to the political and moral capitulation with the annexation to the German Reich (1938) and the liberation by allied troops and finally the foundation of the Second Republic which existed after 1945 and still exists today.

This "charged" space was deliberately misused for Nazi propaganda when Adolf Hitler announced the annexation of Austria to the German Reich on the balcony of the Hofburg in March 1938. To this day, the Heldenplatz stands in Austria's collective consciousness as a symbol of the approval of a broad section of the population for this annexation of Austria to Hitler's Germany.

The Heldenplatz after 1945
After 1945, major events took place again and again - but this time completely different - on Vienna's Heldenplatz. Only 20 years later, the first political fatality of the Second Republic occurred. The concentration camp survivor Ernst Kirchweger died of injuries inflicted on him by right-wing extremist counter-demonstrators during the demonstration against the Nazi-loyal Taras Borodajkewycz. On the day of his burial, there was a mourning rally on Vienna's Heldenplatz in which 30,000 people took part. The largest demonstration in the Second Republic, the "Sea of Lights", took place on 23 January 1993, when more than 250 000 people gathered to demonstrate against the Haider FP–'s anti-alien policy.

But Heldenplatz was also used in art as a "picture". The best-known example is probably Thomas Bernhard's play of the same name. The premiere on 4 November 1988 in Vienna's Burgtheater became a huge scandal in terms of media and cultural policy - especially because of the so-called "year of reflection" (50th anniversary of the Anschluss).

The 8th of May
On 8 May 1945 the German Wehrmacht capitulated. This marked the end of the National Socialist regime and its criminal war of aggression and extermination. This day is still significant for Vienna's Heldenplatz today. Since the 1990s, extreme right-wing fraternities have organised a memorial for "their" fallen heroes, soldiers and members of Nazi crime organisations in front of the crypt in the right wing of the castle gate. To commemorate the Day of Liberation in a dignified manner, the Festival of Joy organised by the Mauthausen Committee Austria was launched in 2013.

Tags: Photo journalism Monochrome Vienna Bnw photography

Voters: Edcat55, mike9005, saltireblue and 48 more

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saltireblue Plus
10 11.4k 69 Norway
27 Sep 2020 3:37PM
The weather (and a certain virus) ensuring the few who ventured out had plenty of space to themselves...
An interesting potted history, Ollie, thank you for that.
Saastad Plus
1 16 15 Norway
27 Sep 2020 3:47PM
Nice shot Ollie!

Arne Smile
woolybill1 Plus
14 35 76 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2020 3:51PM
Fascinating history, Oliver; I knew the outline but none of the detail. hank you.

Have a great week!

waltknox 5 4 Canada
27 Sep 2020 4:25PM
Enlightening text Ollie , I am reading a book called the monuments men right now .All about the Nazi's stealing of art and other valuables during their wicked reign. The book was also made into a movie is better of course. What a grand gathering place with a storied history.
Best regards
27 Sep 2020 4:39PM
An incisive historical narrative of the significance of this image, Oliver.
mac Plus
19 10 Scotland
27 Sep 2020 4:46PM
It looks a great square complete with the history, was very interesting. Filled in gaps of my history of Austria.
27 Sep 2020 4:49PM
Impressive subject matter, Ollie.

Alfie_P Plus
13 872 2 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2020 4:56PM
Excellent image and history in your description Ollie ⭐

27 Sep 2020 5:20PM
A splendid narrative and image, Oliver.SmileSmile
27 Sep 2020 5:27PM
an excellent image and terrific write-up, Oliver
capto Plus
8 6.5k 23 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2020 6:19PM
Great info to strengthen the image.Smile
27 Sep 2020 8:32PM
Interesting write-up, Ollie.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1774 England
27 Sep 2020 8:36PM
This makes me think on about the parts of British history that we tend to neglect... We've not had to confront our less reputable past in the way that Austria and Germany have done.

We're the poorer for not having done so. We flinch about toppling statues: but the inconvenient truth is that we have statues of men who behaved as badly as the Nazis. We gave India their railways: but then, Mussolini made Italian trains run on time.

History is altogether more complex than most people want it to be.
27 Sep 2020 8:57PM
Thanks for the interesting potted history, always so much to learn...
Fine photo too.
Daisymaye Plus
12 23 18 Canada
27 Sep 2020 11:41PM
An excellent image and write up Ollie.
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2020 7:18AM
Excellent mono Ollie, and a very informative write-up.
Isabel GrinGrin
TrevBatWCC Plus
12 13 17 England
28 Sep 2020 11:06AM
Interesting story Ollie, and a fine capture of this magnificent fountain. Good that you've got people in there to show it's scale 😃👍
Trev 😀
Fefe Plus
9 54 34 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2020 4:25PM
Lovely in Mono Oliver Grin
A grand setup well done Oliver.
29 Sep 2020 8:50AM
An excellent image and narrative. SmileSmileSmile


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