Sunday, 22 April 2012

Vienna street severs anti-Semite link

The name of an anti-Semitic mayor is to be removed from a section of one of Vienna's most famous streets.
Part of the Ring Boulevard in central Vienna is currently named after Karl Lueger, who was mayor of the city from 1897 to 1910.
The decision to rename the street has been welcomed by Jewish groups and left-wing parties, but has been condemned by the far right.
Karl Lueger is often described as the father of modern political anti-Semitism.
A charismatic and popular leader known as "the Handsome Karl", Lueger was a major influence on the young Adolf Hitler.
As mayor, he brought about extensive improvements to Vienna's infrastructure. He expanded the pipeline network that brings Alpine spring water to the city and he strengthened social welfare schemes and public transport.

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Anti-Semitic verbal incitement by politicians like Karl Lueger paved the way for the racial anti-Semitism of the Nazis”
Oskar Deutsch Head of Austrian Jewish community
But his legacy is tarnished by his attacks on the city's Jewish minority.
His anti-Semitic campaigns were so notorious that when he was first elected mayor in 1895, the Emperor Franz Joseph refused to endorse him. It took two years and a lot of pressure before he eventually gave way.
Embarrassing address The part of the Ring Boulevard that bears his name contains some of Vienna's most prominent buildings, including the Burgtheater - one of Europe's largest theatres - and the headquarters of Vienna University.
It was named Dr Karl Lueger Ring back in 1934, and has proved to be an embarrassing address for many of the city's academics.
Now after years of debate, the city has decided to change the name to Universitaetsring, (University Ring).
City officials say renaming streets is an unusual step to take, as the names reflect Vienna's history, good and bad.
But Vienna's Councillor for Cultural Affairs, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, from the governing Social Democrat-Greens coalition, said they were prepared to make an exception in this case.
Statue to Karl Lueger Karl Lueger was considered by many a charismatic and popular mayor
The head of Austria's Jewish Community, Oskar Deutsch, welcomed the move, which he said was long overdue.
"Anti-Semitic verbal incitement by politicians like Karl Lueger paved the way for the racial anti-Semitism of the Nazis," he said.
Mr Deutsch said it should "serve as a warning on our present politicians who frivolously and reprehensibly use anti-Semitic, racially motivated and xenophobic slogans."
However the far-right opposition Freedom Party, which is currently in second place in the opinion polls, strongly criticised the decision.
Its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, accused the Social Democrats of setting up a statue to "a foreign mass murderer like Che Guevara" while they stripped "an excellent Viennese mayor of a street name". "It is a scandal," he said.
Despite the renaming of the Ring, Lueger will not disappear from Vienna's streets.
There are currently no plans to remove his name from Dr Karl Lueger Platz - a central square, which is dominated by a statue of the former mayor.



Ah, thats some interesting fact about Vienna. I'm just reading up on Vienna as I'm planning to take the Vienna city breaks soon. thanks, impressive.

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