House of History Austria Sets an Example with Special Guided Tours to the "Hitler Balcony"

More+More+ ♦ Published: September 4, 2023; 22:53 ♦ (Vindobona)

The House of Austrian History (hdgö) is adding two special tours at short notice to its program, which will take a look at the so-called "Hitler Balcony". The tours will take place on September 7 and 14, 2023, and will be led by Director Monika Sommer under the title "(K)ein Hitler-Balkon" (No Hitler Balcony).

Survivor Erika Freeman entered the otherwise restricted Altan of the Neue Burg in November 2022 at her own request, feeling it was her personal revenge against Hitler, she said. / Picture: © hdgö / eSeL Lorenz Seidler

To an Open Wound of Contemporary History" they provide insights into the history of the site and deal with the handling of this symbolic place, which for a long time stood for the lack of confrontation with Austria's Nazi past. The hdgö continuously deals with topics such as National Socialism, anti-Semitism, democracy and the rule of law. In addition, an "Action Week against Anti-Semitism" is planned.

The Altan of the New Castle, from which Adolf Hitler delivered his "Anschluss" speech in 1938, became a symbol of the National Socialist expansionist policy with the date March 15, 1938. Despite this significant historical connection, the Republic has not yet undertaken a symbolic reinterpretation of the site in order to reinterpret it in democratic and constitutional terms. The hdgö has been calling for a re-contextualization and active remembrance work for some time, as the "Hitler Balcony" is still closed to the public and no active educational work can take place there.

Hdgö Director Monika Sommer emphasizes: "As a contemporary history museum, we are constantly doing everything we can with our resources to address and educate about the history of this place. It is a central task of the hdgö to actively address the period of National Socialism and the way it was dealt with in Austria time and again. For the current occasion, it is a personal concern of mine to schedule two special tours of the Altan at short notice." She underlines the need to actively carry out remembrance work at places with a problematic history and emphasizes the importance of a democratic sign at this place until the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Republic.

The planned special guided tours offer an opportunity to learn first-hand about the history of the "Hitler Balcony" and to engage with Austria's past. The "Action Week against Anti-Semitism," which will take place between November 3 and 10, 2023, continues to address these important issues and offers a diverse program of workshops, talks, lectures, discussions and guided tours.

The House of Austrian History takes its role as an information provider and memorial site seriously and strives to make an active contribution to coming to terms with the past. With the special guided tours and action weeks, important steps are taken to promote the confrontation with the Nazi past and to enable remembrance work.

House of Austrian History