From War to Peace

WWII in Vienna

This is one of six Flak Towers in Vienna. It’s situated in Esterházypark (6th district). The Flak Tower in Esterhazypark was the Lead Tower (Leitturm). Flak Towers come in pairs. The „twin“ is the Combat Tower (Gefechtsturm), which is situated in Stiftskaserne and it’s still used by the Austrian Army. Both of theme were erected in 1943/44. The Flak Tower was used by the Luftwaffe as an antiaircraft gun blockhouse against Allied air raids during World War II. The roof was heavily armed with Flak-guns and also a gigantic radar (Würzburg-Riese) was in place. The Flak Tower was originally – until a new roof construction was added in 2013 – 47.3 m high, 31 m long and 15 m wide.

The purpose of this war architecture became peaceful and educative after World War II. In 1958 it became a public aquarium, Haus des Meeres, which is since 2015 the owner of the Flak Tower. The external wall of Flak Tower is used by Österreichischer Alpenverein as an artificial climbing structure with 4.000 climbing holds. The wall on its highest point shows a installation – a typographic text – of the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner: Smashed to pieces (in the still of the night) – Zerschmettert in Stücke (im Frieden der Nacht).

My daughter Victoria invited me in the restaurant on the rooftop. It was a big well organized event. It began with a guided tour through the Haus des Meeres. When we arrived on the balconylike structure, where once the Flak Guns were situated, I was shocked. As much as I enjoyed the view, the Aperitif and afterwards the special dinner cooked by a famous chef – it was somehow a perverse situation too.

I couldn’t and I didn’t want to forget, that it was a structure built during World War II. It was a construction to defend and to destroy. People died – on both sides. Nobody should forget this fact – although it became in the last 60 years a building for a peaceful, scientific and entertaining purpose.

Nobody should forget Austrofascism, National Socialism, Holocaust and World War II. We shouldn’t do the same foolish catastrophic failure twice!

Never vote far-right politicians!

Hear, what they say. See, what they do. Think about it very carefully, in case you really want to be part of a system, which exclude people for religion, origin, gender, sexual orientation, political opinion and more. There will be a good chance, that they will do the same to you in the future!