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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Don’t Mention the War

The tourist itinerary in Vienna has those seminal items that mark the history of ordinary folk: one such is the Hochstrahlbrunnen just south of Schwarzenbergplatz. This spectacular fountain celebrates the opening of the city’s first water supply from the nearby hills – well, no further than 90 km away.

Behind the fountain is a large memorial, which appears to commemorate a war. But it is not in the guidebook. Curious. But a closer look provides the answer: the script around the top of the semi circular colonnade is in Cyrillic. This monument is a Russian one, celebrating their role in the ending of World War 2.

Why the problem? Well, the war ended in 1945, but the Russians did not finally leave Austrian soil until the end of the 1950s. So their monument is there, it’s looked after, but it’s not celebrated too enthusiastically.

Not that I mentioned that.

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