Nobody ever thought that Amstetten, a quiet little town in Austria, would steal the spotlight once again. In case Amstetten doesn’t ring a bell, just remember that this tiny village is the place where Josef Fritzl imprisoned, raped and kidnapped his daughter Elisabeth for twenty-four years in a fallout shelter. After the media outburst around the Fritzls jailhouse, the town progressively fell into its due anonymity. In recent days, however, Amstetten seems to be back in the headlines. Throughout Austria, several cities are investigating if Adolf Hitler is still on their list of honored citizens. Local authorities are examining the issue since the name of the Furher was discovered in the records of the town.
So, how come the name of Adolf Hitler is mentioned among the famous citizens of the small Austrian town? Here is the story: In 1938, during an official visit to Austria, Hitler passed through Amstetten. Local authorities took it as an honor and introduced the Furher to their tiny Hall of Fame… Since then, and despite Hitler’s death by suicide in 1945, this title had never been withdrawn. Scandalized, local representants of the Green Party decided to introduce a motion to remove the Mein Kampf author from the list. The motion was approved by a large majority of the local council on May 24. A large majority but no unanimity: two members of the right-wing party FPO (formerly led by Jorg Haider) preferred not to welcome the motion. The reason? Hitler’s suicide in 1945 would de facto make him lose his honorary citizenship.
Did someone say (awful) chutzpah?