>Spuren des Anschlusses 4 : Der Tummelplatz

The “Tummelplatz” is a small field of memorial markers for fallen soldiers, tucked away in the wooded hills just above town. Originally a riding area for nobility, it was used as a war cemetery from 1797 to 1856. Since that time it has been filled with hundreds of markers honoring soldiers who have fallen on foreign soil, and whose bodies were never recovered, in the First and Second World Wars.
I have visited the Tummelplatz often; it’s just along one of my favorite hiking paths to the lake at Lans, and an interesting place to see. Each marker is individually designed, and often with a photograph of the fallen attached to it, with a few words: his name, age, and where he fell. As is the case with those missing in action, often this place was the only kind of “grave” the family had. I have included a few photos here, so that you can take a look at these “Nazis” yourself. Most of them were no more than boys, and none of them have the stiff, menacingly serious look that American military portraits have these days. They were young, and had absolutely no choice in the matter of joining up (refusal led in many instances to arrest, imprisonment, trial, execution.) Many of the markers speak of a “heroe’s death”.

Swastikas or any kind of Nazi symbols are nowhere to be seen (except, sadly, where someone defaced a chapel wall with spray paint.)
Is it wrong to honor a dead soldier if he died for an ignoble cause? Is it wrong to grieve for a son who shipped off to the Russian front, never to be heard from again? Of course it isn’t. The Tummelplatz reminds me that the last war is still a bit of an unhealed wound that people would rather forget than be confronted with regularly. There’s much to learn in the faces of these boys, which they themselves never had the chance to learn.

3 thoughts on “>Spuren des Anschlusses 4 : Der Tummelplatz

  1. >PR is for the winners atonement for the losers. American white southerners will all but swoon talking about the butternut clad traitor too damn stupid and racist to be aware he was being used by the planters, the Brits miss lifting up the white man;s burden,including Ireland where a family member was killed. And so it goes.


  2. >Hi, I find your research very interesting as my father comes from Innsbruck and lived through the war as a young child to teenager. He would never speak about it and whatever happened to him or whatever he did effected him for the rest of his life. He moved far away (to Australia) and never confronted or dealt with the past at all. I would just like to add to your words by saying it is not only the people who live through the war that are affected by the brutality and horror. Or the people who died. The families for many generations after are still feeling the pain of what war does to the human spirit, no matter which side you are on.Thanks.


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