Funny buggers, your Austrians.
They gave civilization Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler and a bunch of Strausses.
But they contributed to decivilization, too.
They gave us Maria Anna Schicklgruber, who spawned an illegitimate baby who became a bigger bastard when he grew up.
One of the great bastards of history, actually.
Yep. Adolf Hitler.
But it has taken some time for some bits of Austria to recognise it’s a bad look to keep Adolf on as an honorary citizen.
A few weeks back, several towns in Austria were checking their archives to see if Adolf Hitler was still an honorary citizen of their communities.
It follows an announcement by the town of Amstetten that – more than 60 years after his death – it was finally revoking Hitler’s honorary title.
Hitler visited Amstetten – west of Vienna – in 1938, and was made an honorary citizen the following year.
Just one thing bothers Alf about this.
It’s the small matter of the role played by the Green Party in having Hitler dishonoured.
The Green Party sponsored the move to strike his name from the honours list.
Hmm. And if he had been gay – what then?
Betcha that would have perplexed the buggers.
The decision was passed by a large majority in the town council.
But two members of the far-right Freedom Party abstained.
They argued the move was unnecessary, because they said the title expired with Hitler’s death in 1945.
If the Greens can do that in Austria, of course, they can do it anywhere, and all sorts of people who have done things that bother them could be stripped of their titles or honours.
In this case, sure, it was a bloke generally regarded as a monster.
But some of our Greens regard dairy, pig and chicken farmers as monsters, depending on their farming practices and how they treat their animals.
Austria, of course, is still grappling with the legacy of its Nazi past and (the BBC said) has sent historians and politicians rushing to check their archives.
The mayor of the southern city of Klagenfurt, Christian Scheider, did not even wait for a debate on the issue, but used emergency powers to officially strike Hitler’s name from the city’s roll of honour.
Several other Austrian towns have been arguing about whether the honorary titles of Hitler and other prominent Nazis have expired or not.
Today Alf has learned that Hitler’s home town has revoked his honorary citizenship – even if he never may have been given it.
The council in Braunau am Inn decided to strip Hitler of any honour he may have received and which did not expire automatically after his death in 1945.
Hitler was actually born in Ranshofen in 1889, and the village made him an honorary citizen in 1933.
Ranshofen later became part of Braunau, and is now seen as Hitler’s birthplace.
The council said in a statement on Thursday that “no archival evidence could be found for the town of Braunau am Inn’s awarding Adolf Hitler honorary citizenship”, according to the Austria Press Agency.
But the statement added: “The awarding of honorary citizenship to Adolf Hitler is symbolically and as a precaution revoked and repealed.”
Local historians are still arguing whether the honorary title was transferable from Ranshofen to Braunau.
Alf supposes something similar could happen here, as local government restructuring results in towns being absorbed within cities. That’s why he resists these reforms.
He foresees the day when Eketahuna has become a suburb of Masterton, and historians are arguing about whether the honours heaped on the town’s most celebrated citizens can be transferred.
He also foresees the bloody Greens at that time trying to wreak some political revenge by having his name removed as an honorary member of the Eketahuna Club.