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Translation copyright Caroline Schmitz. Sacha approached us for assistance in researching this article and we granted him access to photographs and documents. During a party in the Austrian village of Rechnitz shortly before the wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist of the war, Jews were murdered.
The wind is taking the last leaves off the trees and Lake Lugano appears cold and grim. It is a simple grave, Castagnola cemetery, at the foot of Monte Bre — just a simple granite plate, although Margit was one of the richest women in Europe, and modesty was not one of her virtues.
June — Somebody has put fresh chrysanthemums there and the earth in the pot is fresh too. When I was a child we used to go eating out with her twice a year, always at Hotel Dolder in Zurich, my father would already swear on the way there and smoke one cigarette after another in our Opel, my mother would comb my hair with a plastic comb. We called her Aunt Margit, never Margit, as if Aunt was a title, in my memory she wears suits, buttoned right up to her throat and silk foulards with equestrian designs.
She is tall, a huge upper body on thin legs, her crocodile leather bag is bordeaux red with golden clips, and when she talks, about the deer rutting season or about ship cruises in the Aegean Sea, then she moves the tip of her tongue out of her mouth between sentences, like a lizard, she does this like other people constantly play with their hair or touch their noses.
I want to see that tongue. After her death we only wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist spoke of her, my memory of those lunches faded away, until in I read about this Austrian village for the first time. About dead Jews, who had to undress themselves first before they were shot, so that their bodies would rot faster.
She was right in the middle of it all. I call my father and ask him, whether he knew about it. I can hear how he uncorks a bottle of wine and I visualise him, sitting on this old sofa which I like so much, in his flat in Budapest. Everybody was pissed out of their brains. All were allowed to shoot. Was he at the party too? Their marriage was a disaster from the start. Why was Margit a monster? Shortly after the war there were several court proceedings. The night of 24 to 25 March was a moonlit night.
At the same time ca. At half past nine in the evening, the haulier Franz Ostermann loads some of the Jews into his lorry and, after a short drive, hands them over to four men from the Sturmabteilung, the SA, who hand shovels wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist the prisoners and order them to dig an L-shaped pit.
Where are the bodies? The first time I drive to Rechnitz, it is springtime, everything is green, the fields, the woods, the grapes on the vines are small and hard, Rechnitz is not a beautiful village: There is no centre, no main square, the castle, which the stinking rich German entrepreneur and art collector Heinrich Thyssen signed over to his daughter Margit, our Aunt Margit, in his will, no longer stands.
Heinrich signed the castle over to Margit on The Russians bombed it when they entered inand the villagers plundered all the furniture, paintings, carpets. The Rechnitz town historian, Dr Josef Hotwagner, who for some reason Sacha Batthyany is not mentioning in his article, despite interviewing him twice, said there is evidence that the Wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist set the castle alight as they left and that some local people, who tried to put the fire out, were even shot by the departing SS.
I am also extremely surprised by his allegations of plundering by the villagers. It is certainly the only time I have ever heard such an allegation.
Sacha also fails to mention that it was the Batthyany family who originally established the Jewish community in Rechnitz. Each year the Refugius association organises a memorial for the murdered Jews. At the entrance to the village, where the Kreuzstadl — a memorial monument — stands, they sing and pray, the crime must not be forgotten, dandelion flowers, the grass is ankle-high, somewhere underneath lie wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist.
These are not just skulls. They are the remains of human beings with children and parents and loved ones. The Austrians were, in case you have forgotten, part of Nazi Germany.
Are you in all seriousness suggesting these people, many of whom still support right-wing extremism, should under these conditions be considered a reliable source of information? Particularly, as Professor Walter Manoschek will confirm, while they still refuse access to various files relating to the atrocity?
Why wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist this time of night?! Or Gabor Vadasz, who lost his father and uncle in the atrocity, and whom your father may wish to visit, as he also lives in Budapest. As wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist noise in the party hall is too great, he has to go into an adjoining room, the conversation lasts barely two minutes, Podezin says: This supports one of the two most popular excuses for the slaughter of Jews.
The weapons master, Karl Muhr, hands out guns and ammunition to the party guests. It is shortly after 11 pm. There are three cars waiting in the castle courtyard.
Not all the people from the group fit into them, some go by foot. It is not far, after all. It was a front line fort full wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist SS troops that was about to be overrun by the Red Army! It is Sunday, the sun is shining. The inhabitants of Rechnitz stay away from the memorial event. Were any of the Batthyanys there apart from you? Was Francesca Thyssen there? Engelbert Kenyeri, a portly, wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist man, stands somewhat to one side in his best suit, locking his hands over his stomach.
Too big for what? Or do you believe his status was insufficient for wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist an office? Each year, people with divining rods walk over the fields in zigzags and report strange vibrations. And the villagers keep stumm. We told you the Russians had already published a full report of the atrocity and where the bodies were buried. Why do neither wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist nor the Austrian authorities mention wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist or approach them?
The search for the grave is becoming a curse for Rechnitz. In the 65 years since the crime Rechnitz has become a symbol for the way Austria has dealt with its national-socialist past.
Whoever says Rechnitz, means blocking out. So why are you basing yourself on their evidence? I call my father. I say to him, you knew that Aunt Margit was there that night, and you knew about the massacre. But you never thought that she might have had something to do with it? I never thought that there might be a connection between the party and the massacre, which is what everybody seems to be saying lately.
You smoke too much. She is getting her third tooth, and she is crawling. Why did you never talk to Margit about the war? Hey, Aunt Margit, do you want some more wine? And, by the way, Aunt Margit, did you shoot Jews? They were courtesy calls. We talked about the weather, and she sniped at family members. Can you still remember her tongue? The first digs took place as early aseven then all the witness statements about the grave contradicted one another.
There was a hand sketch by two Rechnitz villagers who were both sure to know the location: There were aerial photographs from pilots of the Royal Air Force, who flew over the area shortly after the war. A grave of that size, with its freshly moved earth, would have been spotted, but the clouds were hanging low, on that day of all days, the view was bad, the photos unusable. A certain Horst Littmann led the excavations and found the bones of eighteen corpses at the Hinternpillenacker name of a field close wie werde ich broker schweizer gardist the abattoir.
But Littmann did not find the mass grave that he was looking for. What he did find, however, was an anonymous threatening letter on his car window: Once again, all the source materials and witness statements were checked over, there were renewed excavations, Margareta Heinrich and Eduard Erne made a documentary film about them.
They researched for five years: The last earth tests and geo-electrical measurements were taken inusing improved technology and expensive software. Blood-sniffing dogs were also used for the first time, they found animal bones, probably from chickens. The Jews are made to undress, their clothes pile up in front of the pit, they kneel down naked on the edge of an L-shaped grave, the ground is hard, the air is cold, it is a moonlit night.
Why did you make no attempt to speak to Jewish survivors? Podezin is standing there, Oldenburg too, fanatical national socialists both of them. And they shoot the Jews in the neck. A certain Josef Muralter, nazi party member, shouts, while shooting: You traitors of the fatherland! The Jews slump and fall down into the earth hole, where they are stacked on top of one another like sardines.
In the castle, people are drinking and dancing, somebody is playing an accordion, Margit is young, and she likes having fun, and she wears the most beautiful clothes out of all of them. A waiter by the name of Viktor S. Not all of the Jews are shot that night.