"Visual anchor for history"

The city of Schlögen (with its Donauschlinge) is, what many do not know, a "contaminated" region: Upper Austria had – as the only province of Austria – set up a detention camp for beggars. © afo

By Andreas Huber

A large painting located at the entrance of the exhibition welcomes visitors to the architectureforum oberösterreich (afo). To see: all the texts of Google Maps concerning the hometown of Adolf Hitler in Braunau. Positive as negative, glorifying as well as critical. We are at the exhibition "Contaminated Places", inaugurated last night. From Hitler's birthplace, one goes to places, buildings and landscapes "contaminated" by historical events related to violence and crime. On the basis of Martin Pollack's essay titled "Contaminated Landscapes" (2014) and the discussion around the Hitlerite House in Braunau, the exhibition covers a vast historical and geographical range. Organized by the historian of architecture Georg Wilbertz, the 14 oö. Illuminating places in an exemplary manner, describing their respective events and thus posing the question of how architecture is associated with history: "Architecture can not prevent it, but in many cases, it is and forever remains a point of visual anchoring of history, "says Wilbertz of the press tour. The director afo, Franz Koppelstätter, had the idea some time ago, then you went up a gear about a year ago.

The forgotten places are illuminated

Wilbertz and Koppelstätter have been largely forgotten. They become visible here – initially in the form of oversized photos representing the current time, hardly recalling the story behind it. This is hidden in research material as well as audio files of eyewitnesses, in which visitors can deepen. They tell of human destinies, which are cruelly linked to these places … We almost forgot that Mauthausen, located near a concentration camp and a prisoner of war camp of the First World War, was already at home. More than 11,000 people were killed here. A carved wooden tobacco box representing a prisoner is a remnant that can even be attacked. The well-known Schlögener Donauschlinge picture is one more step. Also unknown is the history of a detention camp for beggars, built by the state of Austria on a hillside and operated from 1935 to 1938. The property was then reforested, there are no more residues today.

Houses and educational institutions are also places of social and psychological contamination. Two cases can be found in the program: In addition to the scandal of a scandal of abuse, Kremsmünster Abbey and the youth residence Linz-Wegscheid, which was until 1990 the "most difficult home in Upper Austria". Austria "and was" protected "by an internally inclined barbed wire.

The story of the "Dichterstein" in Offenhausen, on which poets venerated by socialist nationalists have been immortalized, is also fascinating. Totally forgotten today, the rock rests on a fenced private property – a forest path that crosses it allows some glances. In any case, a curatorial visit is recommended for all these stories: it will be offered on October 30 (18h), November 22 (14h) and December 12 (16h). The exhibition is open until December 21st.

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