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have had lunch on these benches or somewhere in


My mother tugged on his arm to shut him up.

The façades of the buildings around the park, including

parliament, carried banners with swastikas. Since March 12

when the Nazi troops entered the country, Austria had

been called Ostmark, or East March, and Vienna had

become German. The streets appeared strangely calm after

the violence we had seen during the annexation.

My father refused to believe that Germany intended war,

just as he’d refused to believe in the Anschluss. Yet our

illusions had received a shock in the late winter of 1937.

Although Chancellor Schuschnigg protested against the

military maneuvers on our borders and the show of

strength by the Austrian Nazis, he was forced under Hitler’s

threats to accept the appointment of Seyss-Inquart as

minister of the interior. Seyss-Inquart had tolerated, and

perhaps secretly promoted, the pro-Nazi riots. The border

towns, Linz, for example, were now thronged with

uniformed men singing fervent Hitler songs. Austria’s

youth, beset by economic problems and saturated with

propaganda, jumped eagerly at the prospect of annexation

with Germany. In early March, Schuschnigg called for a

referendum on Austria’s independence—a pathetic effort to

preserve our country’s freedom. Hitler responded by

ordering Schuschnigg to cancel the referendum or he