Letters supporting Nazi regime found under Austrian war memorial

A pro-Nazi text has been discovered under a statue at a war memorial in Vienna, Austrian officials say.

The document - expressing hopes of the German people's unification under the Sonnenrad - a reference to the Nazi swastika - was found in a capsule under the statue of the Unknown Soldier, the BBC reported on Friday.

It was put there by sculptor Wilhelm Frass in 1935 - three years before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. The metal capsule has now been removed, and the memorial will be redesigned.

For years the war memorial has been dogged by rumors that a Nazi document had been hidden there.

The pro-Nazi text was unearthed after an investigation ordered by Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos. Speaking of the find the minster said "We can rightly speak of this as a sensational find."

The contradictory messages found in the statue express "the ambivalence of the era" according to historian Heidemarie Uhl.

The first message, written by pro-Nazi sculptor Wilhelm Frass, dated April 8, 1935, mentions "the eternal strength of the German people" and notes "May the Lord, after the horrors, after all the humiliation, end the unspeakable and sad killing between brothers and lead our noble people united under the banner of the black sun! So, comrades, you will not fall in vain. "

Yet the second letter has a more pacifist view; signed by sculptor Alfons Riedel, probably Frass' assistant. Riedel wrote: "I hope that future generations will no longer place our nation in a position where they need to erect monuments to fallen soldiers who fall in violent clashes between nations."

After further analysis, the documents will be delivered to the Museum of Military History in Vienna.


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