Monday, 21 June 2010

Heinrich Maier, the quiet man

The life-size headless carved man with his hands raised to form a silent megaphone is Dr. Dr. Heinrich Maier; priest, theologian, philosopher, underground resistance leader, and the last man to be executed by the Nazis shortly before they retreated from Vienna.

In line with their leader's scorched earth policy Hitler's soldiers destroyed the pipeline carrying the city's drinking water supply from the mountains, blew-up the 9 bridges over the Danube, set the city centre and the cathedral ablaze (a white flag had earlier been raised on the cathedral roof) and took the city's fire engines with them as they retreated in the face of a Russian advance.

Prior to his beheading, a few days before the end of the war, in the Mauthausen Concentration Camp - the notorious camp is the subject of the famous war film The Hill - Heinrich Maier was brutally tortured and interrogated many times but consistently refused to answer questions about his group. His last words as he was taken to the guillotine were: "For Christ and Austria!"

The memorial to Dr. Dr. Heinrich Maier is to be found in the parish church of St. Leopold in Vienna's 18th District.

the quiet man

In the silence
the voice of God
speaks loudest



  1. I had not heard of this, Poet - reminds me rather of Bonnhoffer - there were so many acts of courage during that time.

  2. Thank you Pat and John, your comments much appreciated.

  3. Like Weaver, I thought of Bonnhoffer. Gruesome but powerful image - and post. Thanks, a bit of research to be done!

  4. Hello Dave, Thanks for your comment. According to German Wiki 7 other members of the group were hanged: Walter Caldonazzi, Franz Josef Messner, Josef Wyhnal, Andreas Hofer, Hermann Klepell, Wilhelm Ritsch, and Clemens von Pausinger. Hope that's a bit of help. Good luck with your research.


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