Austria Is a Wonderful Country

Martin Krenn: Österreich ist ein wunderbares Land, installation shot Weltmuseum Wien (2021), photo: Iklim Dogan

Austria Is a Wonderful Country recalls the brutalities and subjugation that took place during the “Anschluss” of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938. With the participation of the Austrian population, Jewish men and women were forced to wash away political slogans from the former Austro-fascist “Ständestaat” (Corporative State). The central part of the installation is a video film based on original quotes from eyewitness reports and image descriptions of historical photos.
Several characters narrate the quotes from the eyewitnesses in the film. One of them is a reporter (played by actor Annamáría Láng), another is a contemporary witness (played by the actor Peter Rothkappel). Both of them appear in the video at historically contaminated locations. The reporter talks about the events that happened during the 1938 “annexation”; she speaks from the perspective of journalists and describes documents as well as historical photos. The third character (Susanne Bock) is the off-screen narrator; she reads quotes from eyewitnesses who were victims of the Nazi persecution. Susanne Bock also reads a quote from her own biography. In the epilogue, Robert Halpern, one of the last eyewitnesses of the “Reibpartien,” describes his experience when he fell victim to one of these pogroms.

Curatorial team Marina Gržinić, Christina Jauernik, and Sophie Uitz
Stories of Traumatic Pasts: Counter-Archives for Future Memories
Exhibition at Weltmuseum Wien, 7.10.2020 – 3.4.2021