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Historians probe into Vienna Philharmonic's Nazi past

Published on Jan 23, 2013 7:10 AM
 
A handout file photo released by the Vienna Philharmonic (Wiener Philharmoniker) shows Governor of Austria Arthur Seyss-Inquart (left) standing by German conductor Wilhelm Furtwaengler and musicians, in 1938 in Vienna. The Vienna Philharmonic said on Jan 22, 2013, it has tasked three historians with delving into the prestigious orchestra's Nazi past following revelations about its honouring of war criminals, as among others Seyss-Inquart was awarded the orchestra's prestigious Honorary Ring in 1942. -- PHOTO: AFP PHOTO/WIENER PHILHARMONIKER

VIENNA (AFP) - The Vienna Philharmonic said on Tuesday it has tasked three historians with delving into the prestigious orchestra's Nazi past following revelations about its honouring of war criminals, including one in 1966.

Mr Fritz Truempi, Mr Oliver Rathkolb and Ms Bernadette Mayrhofer will look into the "politicisation" of the Austrian orchestra from 1938 to 1945, the fate of Jewish musicians and "denazification" afterwards, a statement said.

The announcement comes after Green party lawmaker and historian Harald Walser sparked a debate on the eve of the orchestra's famous New Year's Concert this year by attacking the "deathly silence" over its past.

According to Mr Walser, former "Gauleiter" or governor of Vienna Baldur von Schirach was awarded the orchestra's prestigious Honorary Ring after being released from Spandau prison - in 1966.

 
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