Friday, May 02, 2008

That's Your Hitler!

Years ago, during my first and only visit to Austria, I was walking around one of Salzburg's many Mozart-themed attractions, when a German tourist turned to me and hissed, "Austria. Her greatest accomplishment vas to convince der vorld dat Hitler vas German und Mozart vas Austrian." Despite the fact that Mozart was, in fact, Austrian, I always loved that line.

I thought of it today while reading this introspective, Austrian-penned op-ed (inspired by the recent spike in Austrian homemade-dungeon sex-slave escapes) examining the Austrian Heart of Darkness. What does it say about the Austrian people, the writer wonders, that there were two Austrian homemade sex-slave dungeons just 100 miles from each other? Nine hundred words of soul-searching ensue.

And yet nowhere in the piece does the author mention that Hitler vas Austrian! If you're making a list of iconic Austrians, including Kurt Waldheim, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Red Bull, Hitler seems like an odd omission.

Unless, of course, you've convinced der vorld dat he vas German.

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