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