(Translation: Manuel Grander, Maximilian Winter) | Deutsche Version
Our friendly gym teacher was member of the SS, the likeable math teacher’s father was member of the SA.
In 1989 I graduated from school in Braunau/Inn. In a city which is equal to each other in the surroundings.
By founding a “House of Responsibility” this could be changed. I do want to support this initiative of Andreas Maislinger, political scientist, by writing the following open letter to the residents of Braunau.
(Vienna, 26 October 2013)
Dear residents of Braunau:
I’m the member of a family in Altheim, who was confronted with a considerably and incriminating national-socialist background during the Second World War and up to now too. That’s why I feel a strong need to support the ambition of the political theorist Andreas Maislinger, who wants to establish a “House of Responsibility” in Braunau.
These are my motives:
1. Due to Memorial Service I was able to do my civilian service duties in a Jewish community in Canada, Montreal. Therefore I could get to know lots of displaced persons. Last year I also visited some Jewish Holocaust survivors with my kids in this city. We all sat together at one table eating pancakes. There‘s no doubt that all members of our family benefitted from this experience. Without Andreas Maislinger‘s initiative “Austrian Service Abroad” all this would not have been possible- in the “House of Responsibility” this worldwide network could be coordinated.
2. On occasion of the Braunau Contemporary History Days I published several radio transmissions referring to the idea of this exciting symposium. These programs – reconciliation mechanisms, nobility, contact with Hitler‘s hometown as a „historical heir“- were not only broadcasted in Austria but in Germany as well. Because of their importance and actuality, such broadcastings are very exciting. Andreas Maislinger, the scientific leader of the Contemporary Days, definitely proved that this was the case – in the “House of Responsibility” annual events could be organized.
3. Especially nowadays working on a process becomes more and more important than just describing conditions. A memorial stone is just a statue but a “House of Responsibility” is a process. Processes need conversations – and of course a good social media too – in the “House of Responsibility” future projects can be planned and developed. People come by, who are interested in topics like that.
Andreas Maislinger wants to establish such a “House of Responsibility” at Hitler‘s birthplace. In principle you could found it anywhere, but it‘s a good idea. This house would attract lots of international attention.
The residents of Braunau don’t have anything to defend but they can win a lot.
In detail I’d suggest establishing a “House of Responsibility” at Hitler‘s birthplace, run by the Department of Interior, the city Braunau but the „Austrian Abroad Service” as well (1/3 each) and coordinated by Andreas Maislinger.
The concept of the House of Responsibility is going to have 3 floors, which refer to the questions of the presence, the future and the past. As it is Hitler’s birthplace, Braunau definitely doesn’t need any confession of guilt or not guilt.
Andreas Maislinger isn‘t afraid of asking awkward questions, he is critical. However, he has received several national but also international awards, so that Braunau will definitely benefit from his „certificated“ work.
I’d like to emphasize that Maislinger’s initiatives as far as the ideas concerned have already started. It poses no risk to the residents of Braunau. Initiatives like the coordination of more than 1000 civilian servants abroad and the scientific lead of more than 20 successful Contemporary Days. His discussion events are constructive elements of a modern society, which rather promotes processes – more than conditions.
Lothar Bodingbauer jun.