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German fighter ace rises from the grave!

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  • German fighter ace rises from the grave!

    I guess this proves that one man's hero ib s another man's war criminal. Vienna council shifts Luftwaffe hero from plot of honour to pauper's grave

    The ashes of a daredevil Luftwaffe pilot who shot down more than 250 Allied planes in the Second World War are to be exhumed from a grave of honour in Vienna after the council stripped him of his status as a war hero.

    The campaign to remove Major Walter Nowotny's remains from the city's Central Cemetery and move them to a pauper's plot has been led by the grandson of a British RAF pilot who was shot down over Belgium in 1940 and died of his injuries.

    David Ellensohn, a Vienna city councillor whose maternal grandfather was RAF acting pilot officer James Gillespie, successfully argued that Major Nowotny - the first fighter pilot in history to bring down 250 enemy aircraft - had been serving the Third Reich and did not deserve his heroic status.

    "He was not fighting for this country, for Austria, he was fighting for the Third Reich," said Mr Ellensohn, a Green Party councillor. "If they had won the war, there would be no Austria as such. Therefore, we should not be forced to give special credit to this man."

    Major Nowotny, who had shot down 258 enemy aircraft by the time of his death, aged 24, had been awarded the Third Reich's highest military honour, the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, by Hitler himself.

    When the major died in 1944 when his fighter crashed in flames, his ashes were buried with his medals in his home town, Vienna, alongside Austrian resistance fighters and Beethoven, Schubert, Johann Strauss and Brahms.

    Mr Ellensohn asked: "What did he do that earned him a place alongside those who really earned their places in the cemetery, such as resistance fighters Rosa Jochmann and Paul Speiser?

    "He was placed in that section of the graveyard by the Nazis, not by the city of Vienna, and although it has taken 59 years for the city to recognise that he does not deserve to be there, we are pleased that action is finally being taken."

    The council's decision has been denounced as "cultural barbarianism" by Johann Herzog, a councillor for the opposition Freedom Party (FP), which has launched an appeal.

    Opposition councillors argue that relocating the major's ashes would contravene the war graves welfare law, from 1948, that says war graves - regardless of the nationality of their occupant - must remain undisturbed.

    Mr Herzog said: "The necessity to dishonour Nowotny's grave, and therefore his person, almost 60 years after his death, is evidence of a distorted understanding of history and moreover a lack of deference for a fallen soldier. And that's all he was - a soldier.

    "He was not a member of the National Socialist Party and he certainly was not a war criminal. If he were, I could understand the removal of his status. In fact, he was respected not just by his own side but by RAF pilots as well."

    Sascha Gasthuber, of the far-Right Germania group, said protesters carrying flaming torches to show their contempt for the vote would march against the council's decision. "Nowotny gave his life to make sure the future was worth living in for us and our children. We cannot sit back and let them dishonour his memory like this."

    Mr Ellensohn, however, insisted that the plan to move the grave away from the cemetery's section for heroes was perfectly justified. "As far as I am aware, there is no rule in Catholicism that says a grave cannot be moved, not like in Judaism," he said.

    Major Nowotny, who joined up when he was 19 following the invasion of Poland, was renowned even among Allied pilots and during the summer of 1943 became a virtual one-man air force in the skies over the Eastern Front. In June 1943 he shot down 41 aircraft, 10 in one day. He crashed on November 8 1944 and was buried with his medals a few days later.

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  • #2
    I think this is very unfourtunate. Any fallen soldier, no matter what side they fought on, deserves respect. Any deceased person in general, deserves some respect. If Nowotny was greatly respected by his enemies, than even more reason to bury him next to the likes of Beethoven.

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    • #3
      I think this move is sick. He fought the good fight and was a brave man. It looks like this councillor's actions are motivated by revenge, not principle.

      On this basis soldiers graves around the world could be dug up and moved based on the current perspective of the cause or country they served.

      Does this mean the graves of Soviet soldiers who fell in the fall/sack of Vienna in 1945 are to be carted off somewhere else?

      Or maybe this councillor thinks more highly of their actions than he does of those defending the city?

      Why is only this air ace being singled out and not every German/Austrian soldier who lies buried around Vienna?
      http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

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      • #4
        To put it bluntly this is bullshit.So some guys grandson is upset.No one should be disintered from their place of rest without a very good reason,and this doesn't seem to be one.The whole thing reeks of sour grapes to me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Martin Schenkel
          I think this is very unfourtunate. Any fallen soldier, no matter what side they fought on, deserves respect. Any deceased person in general, deserves some respect. If Nowotny was greatly respected by his enemies, than even more reason to bury him next to the likes of Beethoven.
          Agreed. That's the price that we all pay for living in the age of "Political Correctness."
          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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          • #6
            This article goes to show how events of the Second World War still weigh heavily on the Germans and Austrians. I remember when I was stationed in Berlin, my german girlfriend and a buddy visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Orianenburg. She balled the whole time. You could see the guilt she felt in her face even though she was born almost 30 years after the war.

            That they would go out of their way to dig up an airman whose been dead over 60 years is absurd. But then again I am not a German or an Austrian.
            "I think the mistake a lot of us make is thinking the state-appointed shrink is our friend."

            Jack Handy

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            • #7
              This wouldnt be hapaning if he was on the allied side this is so rong just because he fought for the germans thier going to do this. Makes me sick what people do nowa days.

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              • #8
                My current opinion.

                Originally posted by barkhorn
                German fighter ace rises from the grave!

                Originally posted by barkhorn
                "He was not fighting for this country, for Austria, he was fighting for the Third Reich," said Mr. Ellensohn, a Green Party councilor. "
                If I was responsible for solving this issue, this fact would weigh heavily against me keeping him in that original grave.

                Originally posted by barkhorn
                Mr Ellensohn asked: "What did he do that earned him a place alongside those who really earned their places in the cemetery, such as resistance fighters Rosa Jochmann and Paul Speiser?
                Good point.
                It would depend what criteria would be required to be buried in that cemetery.
                Is there political requirements to be met before being buried there?

                Originally posted by barkhorn
                "He was placed in that section of the graveyard by the Nazis, not by the city of Vienna,
                Was he fighting against Austria?
                No.
                Originally posted by barkhorn
                Opposition councilors argue that relocating the major's ashes would contravene the war graves welfare law, from 1948, that says war graves - regardless of the nationality of their occupant - must remain undisturbed.
                Once you become aware of this law, it makes logistical, common sense.

                Originally posted by barkhorn
                "He was not a member of the National Socialist Party and he certainly was not a war criminal. If he were, I could understand the removal of his status. In fact, he was respected not just by his own side but by RAF pilots as well."
                Good point.
                Originally posted by Martin Schenkel
                I think this is very unfortunate. Any fallen soldier, no matter what side they fought on, deserves respect. Any deceased person in general, deserves some respect.
                I remember President Reagan went to place a wreath in Bitburg, Germany. It was filled, I believe with the graves of SS soldiers. Iím not sure how that played out, but it created an international sensation briefly.
                In my opinion, I could come up with a list of people now dead, whose graves can be desecrated for the terrible acts they did while alive.
                Originally posted by Wolf Tone
                I think this move is sick. He fought the good fight and was a brave man. It looks like this councilorís actions are motivated by revenge, not principal.
                I now agree.
                Originally posted by Wolf Tone
                On this basis soldierís graves around the world could be dug up and moved based on the current perspective of the cause or country they served.
                This comment is what swayed me to leave his grave alone.
                I once dug graves many years ago while in college.
                I forgot that we had all different types of people in there.
                As long as certain people donít have garish monuments that are offensive placed in their honor, I guess we leave them alone for eternity.
                Interesting topic.
                Really makes you think about things.
                Thank you.
                __________________


                "Advances in technology tend to overwhelm me."

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                • #9
                  Considering the true friendliness that exists post war between veteran RAF and Luftwaffe pilots this is even a greater tragedy. I would not be a bit surprised if this grandson wasn't publically dressed down by fellow RAF veterans and their families for stirring up such a crock of B.S...............At least I hope so.................
                  Lance W.

                  Peace through superior firepower.

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                  • #10
                    Hmmmm... this thread is 3 years old - today!

                    Johns been checkin out some good stuff from the past.

                    Good stuff, indeed!

                    Having said that...
                    As I understood it a couple years ago... the grave had been left in place, but the status of 'Honour Grave' had been withdrawn. This effectively ended official care to be extended to, & officially provided for the grave. However, since this became so, private care had made the grave the best kept & cared for grave there... in addition to much more public notice & discovery of the man & his exploits. It also brought much notice to the other 'Honour Graves', as well.

                    I'm still curious as to its current disposition, though.

                    On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

                    ACG History Today

                    BoRG

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                    • #11
                      Wikipedia:
                      Walter Nowotny was buried at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna in a grave of honor sponsored by the city of Vienna. After a long public debate, the Vienna Landtag passed a resolution supported by Social Democrats and Greens to remove the status of honor in 2004 and his remains were moved to a pauper's plot.

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                      • #12
                        I hadn't seen anything on it since probably late 04'.

                        Sux if they really did finally move his remains.

                        Thanx, Red Star!

                        I still wonder what may have occured in the time leading up to July 19, 2006 - 6 days ago - when the part "and his remains were moved to a pauper's plot" was added to the Wikipedia entry. It was not a part of the text 2 days earlier on July 17. I like Wikipedia, but sometimes it makes me nutz.

                        Does anybody know when, or even if he was actually moved for sure?

                        On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

                        ACG History Today

                        BoRG

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                        • #13
                          Why are people digging up these old threads???

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Because you may have noticed the almost total lack of anything to discuss except the Israeli-Hezbollah thing, Iraq and terrorism. The remainder of the forum is almost dead.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by joea
                              Why are people digging up these old threads???
                              I'm not sure that if this thread is a good example, but some "buried threads" have great info for newcommers and many end up being duplicated...........

                              but hey, this one did "catch" me..............
                              Lance W.

                              Peace through superior firepower.

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