Georg Kapsch: The departing head of the Federation of Austrian Industries

13 Jun

This is something that really struck me when I moved to Austria – how the relationship between management and labor was more collaborative than in the U.S.A. There was a sense that Austria as a whole could only do well if everyone was doing all right, that economic success could not happen on the backs of one group.

In this interview, it becomes clear that Georg Kapsch is of the old school. A departing president of the body representing (big) business talking about how to close the gap between rich and poor and how to make sure everyone gets the education they need to be a contributing member of society? Seems pretty radical these days. I hope his successor is on the same page!

A link to the interview is below. Unfortunately, you do have to subscribe to the digital edition to read the whole thing.

https://kurier.at/wirtschaft/georg-kapsch-diese-sommerschule-ist-zu-wenig/400938857

Schau dir “Winterreise, D. 911: No. 5, Der Lindenbaum “Am Brunnen vor dem Tore” (Mässig)” auf YouTube an

10 Jun

It’s that time of year again. The linden (or lime) trees are in blossom and seducing all with their powerful and sweet fragrance. In their honor, here is Schubert’s song “Der Lindenbaum” sung by my favorite Lieder singer, Olaf Bär, accompanied by the inimitable Geoffrey Parsons. Ah.

If Freud had lived in the time of coronavirus

23 May

He would have realized that penis envy is nothing compared to mask envy. I’ve seen several in the last 15 minutes I wish I had. Fesch!

Eating out

16 May

Yes, you read that correctly. As of yesterday our restaurants are open and people are allowed to eat out. There are, of course, certain restrictions, but they don’t seem that tough.

What is really interesting and, I feel, particularly Viennese is that the city of Vienna is issuing gift certificates to each household for use in a restaurant. EUR 25 for single households and EUR 50 for families. Gives new meaning to the expression “Put your money where your mouth is,” doesn’t it?

Much ado in the Trafik

16 May

Maylo and I have already been out and were, of course, at the Trafik. Great consternation this morning as they had RUN OUT OF DOG TREATS! And it was too early to go to the supermarket and get more.

After many apologies and much distress, they realized they had some Manner-Schnitten (waffles made in Vienna) and asked if that would be all right. They were so distressed, what could I say but yes? So Maylo started his day with dessert and seemed, not surprisingly, quite happy about that.

May your Saturday also have such happy moments!

Alice in Wonderland?

10 May

In the last 24 hours I have seen two of these actually well-executed white rabbits. I know we usually go in for Kafka more, but how can one not suspect someone is implying that the times we live in, even in Vienna, are like Alice in Wonderland?

What do my readers think?

A little history lesson

3 May

As we struggle with the coronavirus, let us not forget that 75 years ago the Second World War was ending. In Austria alone, as the Kurier reported this morning, the timeline looked like this:

29 March 1945 – Soviet troops entered Austria in Burgenland; members of the SS rolled boulders off the rim of the quarry in St. Margarethen onto the forced laborers who had been driven together in the quarry below, causing a blood bath; massacres of forced laborers took place in Deutsch-Schuetzen and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg; a death march from the southeast towards the concentration camp Mauthausen near Linz (approximately 300 km away) were started

6 April 1945 – There is a massacre, called the “Krems Rabbit Hunt” (Kremser Hasenjagd), as the concentration camp Krems-Stein is being evacuated. In this massacre, prisoners who tried to escape, including the freedom figher Alois Westermeier, were caught and executed.

8 April 1945 – The freedom fighters Major Karl Biedermann, Captain Alfred Huth, and First Lieutenant Rudolf Raschke were executed at the Florisdorfer Spitz in Vienna for trying to negotiate with the Red Army a peaceful transfer of Vienna.

13 April 1945 – The battle for Vienna ends. St. Stephen’s Cathedral stands in flames.

17 April 1945 – Theodor Koerner is appointed interim mayor of Vienna.

27 April 1945 – Declaration of independence and founding of the Second Republic.

28 April 1945 – U.S. American troops approach Tirol and Upper Austria. The last of three death march groups reach the camp in Gunskirchen, Upper Austria. Thousands of those people do not survive the next few days.

29 April 1945 – Last murder by gassing of prisoners in the concentration camp, Mauthausen. French troops enter Austrian soil in Vorarlberg.

30 April 1945 – In Vienna, at the orders of Interim Mayor Theodor Koerner, street signs with National Socialist names are taped over. Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

6 May 1945 – British troops cross the Carinthian border into Austria. The concentration camp [actually Aussenlager”] Ebensee is liberated by U.S. American troops.

8 May 1945 – Eight days after Hitler’s suicide, the Third Reich capitulates unconditionally and the war in Europe is over.

A beautiful original image of Vienna’s districts

23 Apr

A friend sent me this from one of her colleagues and I liked it so much I immediately asked for (and received) permission to post it.

The artist is Paul Talbot, a trainer and consultant with a hobbyist eye for design.

Enjoy!

The victories of coronavirus shopping

21 Apr

VCM 2020

19 Apr

The Vienna City Marathon (VCM) 2020 has, of course, been canceled. It would have been held today, and the weather would have been good for it–not too hot or sunny and not much wind.

A few years ago I started writing the VCM date in my calendar so that I could set aside time to watch it undisturbed. This was after a number of years of having it on the TV in the background but not planning to really watch it. At some point I had to accept that it was oddly absorbing and enjoyable to watch people run for hours and that there was no point in trying to get anything else done while the VCM was on.

I still watch on TV but there is a point at which the runners pass about 10 minutes from my flat so I have taken to walking down there and cheering on the front runners: first man, first Austrian man, first woman, first Austrian woman. (I have never gotten the sense that they took in that we were there cheering, but I like to cheer them on nonetheless.)

There is a hole in my calendar this year where the VCM would have been. I’ll especially miss seeing Valentin Pfeil, a gifted and personable Austrian marathoner, and Nancy Kiprop, the Kenyan teacher who runs to earn funds for her school and has been the winner among the women three years in a row. I’ll miss the shots of this beautiful city I live in, the streets cleared of cars but lined with fans. I’ll miss the people who run it with a sense of fun, dressed up in silly costumes and not looking at the clock. I’ll miss the ORF commentary. And I’ll miss the stories of the runners and how they came to be in the VCM.

This, too, is a part of Vienna in the times of coronavirus.