For today’s post, I am borrowing one that I posted in my other blog.
(At the top of the slab: “Niemals Vergessen” = Never Forget) 27 Feb 09, Vienna, Austria
At the corner of Franz Josefs Kai 31 and Morzinplatz 4 is a memorial stone that reads (when translated in English):
“Here stood the House of Gestapo. To those who believed in Austria it was hell. To many it was the gates of death. It sank into ruins just like the ‘Thousand Year Reich’. But Austria was resurrected and with it our dead, the immortal victims.”
This memorial stone was of no interest to me until now, even though where it stood is a small park with benches where my 3 kids and I feed the pigeons or rest after a long day’s walk at the city center. I would take photos of the area but never the stone itself.
I learned that the spot was were Hotel Metropole (sometimes Metropol) supposedly stood, it served as the headquarters of the Gestapo (Geheimes Polizeiamt,German Secret Police Office) during the Second World War. It was the same hotel where Philippine National hero, Dr. Jose Rizal and Dr. Maximo Viola, the financier of Rizal’s masterpiece Noli Me Tangere, stayed for 5 days. A bomb hit and damaged the hotel during the 2nd World war and was subsequently destroyed to eliminate memories of the prisoners’ death.
During its heydays, Hotel Metropole was a very convenient and luxurious place to stay at, they served both Austrian and French cookery and has a scenic view of the Danube Canal to boast. The hotel was located at the far end of the Ringstrasse, a circular road surrounding the inner city and is also the standard route for fiakers (horse-drawn carriages) and trams.
The Ring showcases the imperial Habsburg grandeur and the glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with the most notable buildings in the city, significant museums, delightful parks and landscapes with remarkable statues. Sigmund Freud reportedly enjoyed taking a daily recreational walk around this Ring, I wouldn’t be surprised that in my 6 years stay here, the photographer in me had always enjoyed the classical beauty I often capture when I just idle and wander about there on foot.