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Hitler’s Vienna

By Peter Bennett
3/30/2011 • World War II Time Travel


By April 2, 1945, the Red Army had surrounded Vienna. On April 13, it overcame a weak and demoralized German garrison and took the city. In Zentralfriedhof cemetery the graves of hundreds of German, Russian, and other soldiers who died in the battle are laid out in neat rows—not far from the resting places of Beethoven, Brahms, and Strauss.

Peter Bennett is a Canadian freelance photographer and writer, raised and educated in southern Africa and currently living in Berlin. His work for magazines and international development agencies has kept him busy photographing Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His base in Berlin has been ideal for him to develop his interest in World War II by traveling across Germany and Europe to photograph war sites. His photography and “Time Travel” articles may be found on his website, bennettpics.com.
When You Go
Public transport is not really necessary in Vienna’s old town, the Innere Stadt. The Ringstrasse is eminently walkable, though you might want to catch the yellow Ring Tram that runs along the boulevard. The S7 S-Bahn train goes to Zentralfriedhof cemetery.

Where to Stay and Eat
The Hotel Imperial (hotelimperialwien.at, Kärntner Ring 16) remains the best hotel in Vienna. For the rest of us there is the Ibis Wein Mariahilf (ibishotel.com, Mariahilfer Gürtel 22-24) close to Westbahnhof station; the views across Vienna from its upper floors are magnificent. Café Frauenhuber in the Innere Stadt (café-frauenhuber.at, Himmelpfortgasse) is Vienna’s oldest restaurant. Mozart and Beethoven played on the same bill there in 1797. Delicious Austrian lunchtime specials go down well with a glass of locally brewed Zwettler Bier. The wood-paneled interior of the lively Café Hawelka coffee house, also in the Innere Stadt (hawelka.at, Dorotheergasse 6), has not changed since 1906 and serves dozens of specialty coffees.

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3 Responses to Hitler’s Vienna

  1. Aslam khan says:

    hitler was a big curse for germany and all our world .

  2. Steve says:

    Thank you for this article. We recently visited our daughter who is studying in Germany and made a trip to Berlin. We would not have known about stumble stones if I hadn’t read your story. They are eloquent and moving reminders of lives lost to senseless hatred.

  3. Philip Mella says:

    Unfortunately, most wars aren’t based on senseless hatred, but rather, on one of three motivations:
    1. Hegemony: the aspiration for greater lands or economic powers;
    2. Revanchism: retribution for a real or perceived historical wrong;
    3. Irredentism: the ‘recovery’ of lands of ethnically indigenous people, the best example being the Anschluss.
    In truth, belligerents and antagonists have a very predictable path for their aggressions, whether it’s the Visigoths or Muslims (cf., 1683 Vienna).
    The only way to counter their aggression is a greater force and the will to prevail. Absent that, they will be victors–take the time to examine history, from the Punic Wars to the Hundred Years War, to the Thirty Years War, the two in the 20th century, and the one we’re currently waging, this despite the fact that most nations haven’t recognized it as a war. Perhaps it’s not too late.

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