VIENNA JULY 2017
A personal account of a short visit, by Doreen
On our way to the
European Youth Championships in Samorin Slovakia we stopped in Vienna.
Initially I didn’t want to visit Vienna as I well remember that on our
visit a number of years ago we heard a group of people singing a Nazi
far from our hotel. And I recall pictures of the enthusiastic
reaction of the
the annexation of Austria by Hitler in 1938.
Our hotel was in the
Jewish Quarter near the only synagogue to survive Kristalnacht. The
was connected to buildings on either side and unlike other
not burnt for fear of damaging the adjoining buildings. The square in
front of our hotel is
Judenplatz where there is a plaque remembering two Jews killed during a
attack in 1981 on their way to a barmitzvah ceremony at the synagogue. There is a huge community centre there as well.
We visited the Jewish
Museum. For many years
anti-Semitism was rife in Vienna after WWII
until Michael Haupt became mayor in 1994 and acknowledged Vienna’s
responsibility in the destruction of Viennese Jewry.
Today the Jewish Community has about 8,000
members. Interestingly enough about a third of the community are Jews
Bukhara Turkmenistan who emigrated to
Israel but eventually chose to settle in Vienna. During
our two days in Vienna I saw only one
man with a kipa; on our second day we heard a lot of Hebrew –
Theodor Herzl lived in Vienna where he was a
journalist for the Neue Freie Presse. He was sent to Paris to cover the
trial of Alfred Dreyfuss wrongly accused of treason. When he heard the
crowds screaming "Death to the Jews" he changed his whole outlook on
the solution to the 'Jewish Question,' becoming
the father of modern political Zionism.
He was buried in Vienna in
1904. In his will he asked that should a Jewish State be founded that
his body be interred in Jerusalem. In an emotional ceremony his body
was brought to Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in 1949 with representatives
from all the Jewish villages bringing soil to cover his grave.
At the Jewish museum in Vienna Theodore
Herzl’s bicycle is displayed as well as a
picture of him
with his bicycle in 1902 – not the severe statesman we know from the
poster of him in front of the walls of Jerusalem
The other thing that caught our attention was a
map dated 1529
one of the two Turkish sieges on Vienna. The failure of the first siege
stop to Turkish expansion under Suleiman the Magnificent (the man who
walls we see around the Old City of Jerusalem today) who had already
annexed part of Hungary.
Near our hotel was Daniel Moser,
the best coffee in Vienna. It also
happened to have delicious bagels and mozzarella but best of all was
by the toilets!
I visited Vienna
Secession, which was an art movement formed
in the late 1800’s. Its first president was Gustav Klimt.
“The Kiss” and his other paintings are all over Vienna, on coffee cups,
dishes, scarves, umbrellas
posters. The Kiss is in Belvedere a palace we didn’t manage to visit
but his 1902 frieze interpreting
Symphony is in the Secession
The end of the symphony expresses man’s yearning
for happiness with the choir singing Friedrich
To Joy ending with “This Kiss to the Whole World.”
Another part of the frieze entitiled ‘Intemperance’
with its fat lady particularly
spoke to me - but the last scene of Ode to Joy is more famous!
We managed to attend a
performance of Piber Meets Vienna to see the Lippizan horses at the
Riding School winter quarters. The stallion pageant is performed only
in winter, while
summer the mares with their foals give a performance in this amazing
back to 1792 to the reign of Emperor Charles VI.
the young horses were dark brown,
surprising as their parents are all white. It seems that they are born
brown but shed their hair which gradually turns white. When we approach
we are always warned not to put our hands near their mouths because
bite. Here the foals were frisky but the mares were very gentle and
audience to pat them.
Besides walking a lot
through the beautiful streets of Vienna we did a lot of eating! A fun place is Naschmarket – a long narrow
food market with a vast array of restaurants and stalls selling many
At a fine dining
restaurant overlooking the Danube River, I choose fish wrapped in a
while Eitan chose ….. Vienna Schnitzel.
His verdict: when in Vienna eat sausages from the street stalls.
the other hand was on a quest to find the perfect frozen yoghurt,
But wait, what about
the Mozart chocolates sold everywhere? Feeling very virtuous we didn’t
after all they are sold all over the world. But Sacher Torte? I stood
queue in the boiling sun to get a table at the Sacher Café, home
to the Original
Sacher Torte. It was good but not amazing so we had to go to the nearby
the next day to try their version of Sacher Torte. The Original Sacher
Torte is based on a secret recipe from 1832 which is kept in a safe. It
details the ingredients as well as the order of the various chocolates
needed in the 34 different steps to make the cake which when
baked is spread with
apricot jam and covered with a firm chocolate icing.
eaten one of the 360,000 big slices made every year, my verdict: when
Vienna eat apfelstrudel.
Vienna in summer is a place of
outdoor coffee houses and cafes and beautiful shopping areas. It
demands more time than we had to attend a concert of Mozart's music,
to enjoy a boat ride on the Danube, to visit Sigmund Freud’s
house or the towering St Stephen's Cathedral which always
gave us our bearings, or to visit the excellent art
museums, Hundertwasserhaus and villages, and of course “the Kiss” by
Klimt at the Belvedere Palace.
In the end,
despite my initial misgivings, I
decided Vienna was well worth another visit.