return of the Kantian

Posted on

Google Maps

By loading the map, you agree to Google's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load map

This post is about a walk around Schönbrunn with the Kantian and Brad. We also see the defaced Karl Lueger monument.

I hadn’t seen the Kantian in more than a year. Luckily, he had relocated out of Turkey, and he had come to Vienna for a visit. Brad and I rushed downtown to meet him.

palm houses

He was at the Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the House of Habsburg, the former rulers of Austria. We didn’t go inside, though. Instead we walked around in the park, marvelled at the palm house, and climbed up a hill that overlooked the city.

“Over there,” the Kantian told me as he was pointing to some hills in the distance, “that’s where our Ottomans were camped out during the siege of Vienna. They tried really hard to take the city, and they failed. And then the Austrians happily ate their croissants.”

Are you sad about it? I asked him jokingly.

“Of course not,” he said, adding: “fuck the Ottomans!”


We were planning to go to an open mic comedy club. On the way there we walked past a monument that someone had defaced with bright red graffiti. SCHANDE, the graffiti said: shame. Some of the engravings had been decorated with Hitler-mustaches, and at the bottom of the monument someone had scrawled: FEUER UND FLAMME DEN FASCHISTEN (fire and flame to the fascists).

I felt confused.


There was a little information board that said that the monument had been dedicated to a certain Karl Lueger, a former mayor of Vienna. It also said that Lueger was a “controversial” figure because of his antisemitism and his German nationalism.

I asked two young women who were just passing by if they knew anything about the monument or why someone had smeared the word shame all over it. They smiled apologetically and said no, they didn’t know.

It was only later, after the stand-up comedy show, that I read up on Lueger and started to sympathize with whoever had made the graffiti. Lueger, with his antisemitism, his nationalism, and his cult of personality, was like a proto-Hitler.

In 1896, his supporters were handing out pamphlets that showed a Lueger-version of the Lord’s Prayer:

Vater Lueger, der du wohnst in Wien, gelobet sei dein Name, beschütze unser christliches Volk (…) sondern erlöse uns von dem Juden-Übel. Amen.

Our Lueger in Vienna, hallowed be your name, protect our Christian nation (…), but rescue us from the Jewish evil. Amen.



walk around Schönbrunn with the Kantian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *