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.