© Generali Foundation Collection-Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, © Bildrecht, Photo: Werner Kaligofsky

Hans Haacke

Und Ihr habt doch gesiegt, 1988

Two-part installation at the Platz am Eisernen Tor, Mariensäule, Graz Billboard with 16 posters, 119 x 84 cm each Black, white, red, with collages of facsimile excerpts from newspapers and documents, Graz 1938, 22 x 22 cm each Total dimensions approx. 260 x 720 x 5 cm Reconstruction of the poster support (with original posters) Generali Foundation with Hans Haacke, 2001 Documentation of the installation, 3 black-and-white and 3 color photographs, dry-mounted on aluminum, Edition 1/3 Text by Hans Haacke 3 newspaper holders with press clippings on the project
Documentation Since 1968, the steirischer herbst (Styrian Autumn) culture festival has been held each autumn in Graz, the capital of the Austrian province of Styria. The festival features concerts, dance, opera and theatre performance, film screenings, symposia, literature readings, and art exhibitions. The festival organizer is an independent organization whose director is chosen from a board in which representatives of provincial and munici-pal government play a decisive role. The chair of this board was Professor Kurt Jungwirth, deputy governor of the province of Styria and one of the most prominent politicians of the conservative Austrian People’s Party, the ÖVP. The city of Graz was represented by the Social Democrat mayor, Alfred Stingl and the culture advisor, Helmut Strobl (ÖVP). The festival is funded by the provincial and federal governement and, the City of Graz. Peter Vujica, director of the steirischer herbst in 1988, chose for the 20th anniversary of the festival the motto ”The Guilt and Innocence of Art” and suggested that reference be made to Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938. The Anschluss was the theme of a number of public events in Austria in the year of its 50th anniversary. Inevitably, the enthusiastic welcome Hitler received when his troops marched into Austria became the topic of an agitated public debate. That debate was further fuelled by the controversy surrounding the recently elected Austrian president, Kurt Waldheim, and the role he had played as a Wehrmacht officer in the Balkans during World War II. Werner Fenz, the curator of the municipal ”Neue Galerie”, was charged with the organization of the visual arts section. He invited artists from various countries to produce works for temporary installation in selected public places in Graz. In Points of Reference 38/88, locations were chosen that had played a significant role during the Nazi regime, such as the Gestapo/police headquarters, city hall, squares where Nazi rallies had been held, Hitler Youth headquarters, the Episcopal palace, etc. Programmatically, Werner Fenz stated in the catalogue: Points of Reference 38/88 should challenge artists to confront history, politics, and society, and thus to reclaim an intellectual territory, which is being surrendered to everyday indifference in a continual, unconscious, and manipulated retreat. Sixteen artists from eight countries accepted the invitation from Graz. Without the cooperation of the municipal, provincial, and federal authori-ties, and the Catholic church, the installation projects could not have been realized. The readiness to support the projects is all the more re-markable considering that they would predictably open up old wounds in the populace. Only the Austrian Railroad (Österreichische Bundes-bahn) refused to allow the use of the railway station in Graz. One of the city’s older monuments, the ”Mariensäule” (”Column of the Virgin Mary”), rises in a square at the South end of Herrengasse, the most prominent street in Graz. A fluted column on a massive base, crowned by a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary on a crescent moon, it was erected late in the 17th century to commemorate the victory over the Turks. It has been a popular landmark ever since. When Hitler conferred on Graz the honorary title ”Stadt der Volkserhebung” (”City of the People’s Uprising”), the ceremony on July 25, 1938 was held at the foot of the Mariensäule. Graz had earned this title as an early and vital Nazi stronghold in Austria. Weeks before the ”An-schluss” thousands of Nazis marched down Herrengasse in a torchlight parade, the swastika flag was hoisted from the balcony of city hall and Jewish shop windows were smashed. For the 1938 celebration the Mariensäule was concealed under an enormous obelisk, draped in red fabric and emblazoned with the Nazi insig-nia and the inscription And You Were Victorious After All. This claim of ultimate triumph referred to the failed putsch in Vienna on July 25, 1934, four years earlier, during which the Austro-fascist chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuß, was murdered by Nazis. 15 years earlier, in a violent confron-tation, the first attempt at a coup d’état by the Nazis in Munich had been successfully suppressed. The obelisk was topped by a fire bowl. Werner Fenz designated the Mariensäule and its surroundings as one of the sixteen points of reference. According to photographs of its trans-formation into a Nazi victory column, the appearance of July 25, 1938, was reconstructed for the steirischer herbst. The only difference from the original was an inscription around the base. Listed white on black in the fractura typeface preferred by the Nazis, were ”The Vanquished of Styria: 300 Gypsies killed, 2,500 Jews killed, 8,000 political prisoners killed or died in detention, 9,000 civilians killed in the war, 12,000 miss-ing, 27,900 soldiers killed.” Facing the obelisk, on a spot where, in 1938, a wall of large swastika flags served as backdrop for the Nazi dignitaries addressing their uni-formed audience, a billboard was erected with sixteen posters. With a swastika in their center the posters carried, in white fractura on a red ground, the inscription ”Graz-City of The People's Uprising.” Pasted into the middle of the swastikas were facsimile reproductions of documents from 1938. Among them were several classified advertisements from the local newspapers announcing the ”Aryan” ownership or recent ”Ary-anization” of local shops, and boasting that Nazi paraphernalia were in stock. In others, ”Aryans” were looking for jobs or marriage partners. One man warned the public that he would prosecute anybody who spread rumors that he might not be ”Aryan.” The university law school’s catalogue page with the listing of courses on the new race laws and Germanic legal doctrine, as well as the con-gratulatory telegram the university president had sent to Hitler were among the exhibited documents. There were, as well, reproductions of the prayer with which the city’s pastor welcomed the new Nazi era and ads by employees who publicly thanked their employer for having granted them a bonus on the occasion of the Anschluss. Also included was the local newspaper’s jubilant report of the burning of the synagogue: ”For Graz the problem of the provocative presence of a Jewish temple has now been unequivocally solved by the will of the people.” And there was a facsimile list of motor vehicles confiscated from local Jews by the Gestapo. In response to the request to add a statement on my project for the catalogue Points of Reference 38/88, I wrote: On July 25, 1938, the Nazis proudly proclaimed And You Were Victorious After All emblazoned on a red cloth with a swastika and an eagle with which they covered the column dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Graz. They were referring to themselves. Fifty years later, I hope we see to it that their exultation turns out to be premature. As soon as the obelisk was covered with the red drapes carrying the inscriptions and the Nazi eagle, and it became clear why the statue of the virgin had been encased, there was commotion at the site. Throngs of people gathered and engaged in heated debate over whether, after fifty years, one should stir up the Nazi past again. While most people of retirement age were incensed, the local TV also showed several passionate supporters of the idea that they must confront and come to terms with their ugly past. Among them was an old woman commenting, while the camera was rolling: ”I wonder why these people are so upset. They must feel guilty.” The reaction of those who, due to their age, could not have been implicated in the Nazi period, was mixed, ranging from hostility, indifference and incomprehension to enthusiastic approval of the close project. In their opening address, both the mayor of Graz and the deputy governor stressed the need for more education about recent history, particu-larly for the young. They also stated that any exhibition of art in public places inevitably has political connotations. Local media coverage was generous and for the most part decidedly favorable. No art dealers or critics from outside the region attended the opening. The sixteen posters with documents from 1938 were frequently torn down and had to be replaced. But they also attracted attentive readers and an occasional class of schoolchildren under the guidance of their teacher. Other works of the exhibition were vandalized too, probably more out of aggression against what the vandals perceived as being offensive to their notions of art or as a prank for political reasons. Causing much indignation was a sound sculpture by the Californian, Bill Fontana, that was mounted on a tower on Graz’s Schloßberg. From atop the mountain, sound recordings of Hamburger foghorns and the making calls of exotic birds echoed down on the city. His project was prematurely ended. A guard was posted at the obelisk every night of the festival. About a week before the close of the exhibition, on the night of November 2, the memorial to the victims of the Nazis in Styria was firebombed. The attack could not seen by the guard. Although the fire department was able to extinguish the flames quickly, much of the fabric and the top of the obelisk were burned and the statue of the virgin was severely damaged when the soldered joints of the copper sculpture melted. The local, national, and West German press reported the firebombing, some relating it to the hostile reactions to the Burgtheater’s premiere of Heldenplatz by the Austrian playwright, Thomas Bernhard. Many headlines referred to the ruin of the memorial (”Mahnmal”) as a monument of shame (”Schandmal”), strongly condemning the arson and the suspected political motivation behind it. An exception was the ”Neue Kronen Zeitung,” the largest, most conservative and sensationalist daily press of Austria, which had also been the strongest supporter of Kurt Wald-heim. The Graz editor used the occasion to blame the leaders of the Catholic Church for having permitted the encasement of the ”Mariensäule” and the local politicians for having squandered tax-money for such a ”shameful” purpose. After the arson, Richard Kriesche, an artist from Graz, called for a 15 minute ”demonstration of silence” at the ruin at noon on the following Saturday. Approximately 100 people from the local art community joined him and discussed the meaning of the event with the crowd of Satur-day shoppers that had gathered. For days afterwards, inspired by the ”Katholische Aktion” (Lay Apostolate) and leftist political groups and students, people demonstrated, deposited flowers, and lit candles at the foot of the burned obelisk. Kriesche, the mayor, and some local news-papers proposed leaving the ruin as a memorial beyond the time of the exhibition, until Christmas. However, the conservative party (ÖVP) and Graz merchants eventually defeated this plan. In commemoration of Kristallnacht, the steirischer herbst covered the billboard of sixteen posters with the inscription ”During the night of No-vember 9 to 10, 1938, all synagogues in Austria were looted, destroyed, and set on fire. And during the night of November 2 to 3, 1988, this memorial was destroyed by a firebomb.” With the help of a police sketch and descriptions from two people who had seen him from afar, the arsonist was arrested out of the crowd lining the streets of Graz during a silent march commemorating Kristallnacht. He was identified as an unemployed, 36 year old man who moved in Neo-Nazi circles. Also the instigator of the firebombing was arrested, a well-known 67 year old Nazi. They were convicted by a jury in a trial and sentenced to serve two and a half and one and a half year prison terms respectively. Reports from Graz suggest that the events surrounding Points of Reference 38/88 may have served as a catalyst for a critical examination of the local political culture. Stefan Karner, a professor of contemporary social and economic history at the University of Graz, and author of a book entitled ”Styria during the Third Reich, 1938-1945,” observed, ”I can assure you that many people in Graz have been deeply affected, particularly by the damage done to the artwork. And they suddenly realize how important it is to deal with this period also in artistic terms, and how problematic this subject still seems to be in Graz. I believe many of the reactions give reason to take heart and to be optimistic.” (HH) Since 1968, the steirischer herbst (Styrian Autumn) culture festival has been held each autumn in Graz, the capital of the Austrian province of Styria. The festival features concerts, dance, opera and theatre performance, film screenings, symposia, literature readings, and art exhibitions. The festival organizer is an independent organization whose director is chosen from a board in which representatives of provincial and municipal government play a decisive role. The chair of this board was Professor Kurt Jungwirth, deputy governor of the province of Styria and one of the most prominent politicians of the conservative Austrian People’s Party, the ÖVP. The city of Graz was represented by the Social Democrat mayor, Alfred Stingl and the culture advisor, Helmut Strobl (ÖVP). The festival is funded by the province, the City of Graz, and the Austrian government. Peter Vujica, director of the steirischer herbst in 1988, chose for the 20th anniversary of the festival the motto “Guilt and Innocence of Art” and suggested that reference be made to Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938. The Anschluss was the theme of a number of public events in Austria in the year of its 50th anniversary. Inevitably, the enthusiastic welcome Hitler received when his troops marched into Austria, became the topic of an agitated public debate. That debate was further fuelled by the controversy surrounding the recently elected Austrian president, Kurt Waldheim, and the role he had played as a Wehrmacht officer in the Balkans during World War II. Werner Fenz, the curator of the municipal Neue Galerie, was charged with the organization of the visual arts section. He invited artists from various countries to produce works for temporary installation in selected public places in Graz. In Points of Reference 38/88, locations were chosen that had played a significant role during the Nazi regime, such as the Gestapo/police headquarters, city hall, squares where Nazi rallies had been held, Hitler Youth headquarters, the Episcopal palace, etc. Programmatically, Werner Fenz stated in the catalogue; Points of Reference 38/88 is to challenge artists to confront history, politics, and society, and thus to reclaim an intellectual territory, which is being surrendered to everyday indifference in a continual, unconscious, and manipulated retreat. “Sixteen artists from eight countries accepted the invitation from Graz. Without the cooperation of the municipal, provincial, and federal authorities, and the Catholic church, the installation projects could not have been realized. The readiness to support the projects is all the more remarkable, considering that they would predictably open up old wounds in the populace. Only the Austrian Railroad (Österreichische Bundesbahn) refused to allow the use of the railway station in Graz. One of the city’s older monuments, the Mariensäule (Column of the Virgin Mary), rises in a square at the South end of Herrengasse, the most prominent street in Graz. A fluted column on a massive base, crowned by a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary on a crescent moon, it was erected late in the 17th century to commemorate the victory over the Turks. It has been a popular landmark ever since. When Hitler conferred on Graz the honorary title Stadt der Volkserhebung (“City of the People’s Uprising”), the ceremony on July 25, 1938 was held at the foot of the Mariensäule. Graz had earned this title as an early and vital Nazi stronghold in Austria. Weeks before the Anschluss, thousands of Nazis marched down Herrengasse in a torchlight parade, the swastika flag was hoisted from the balcony of city hall, and Jewish shop windows were smashed. For the 1938 celebration, the Mariensäule was concealed under an enormous obelisk, draped in red fabric, and emblazoned with the Nazi insignia and the inscription “Und Ihr habt doch gesiegt” (And You Were Victorious after All). This claim of ultimate triumph referred to the failed putsch in Vienna on July 25, 1934, four years earlier, during which the Austro-fascist chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuß, was murdered by Nazis. And 15 years earlier, in a violent confrontation, the first attempt at a coup d’état by the Nazis in Munich had been successfully suppressed. The obelisk was topped by a fire bowl. Werner Fenz designated the Mariensäule and its surroundings as one of the sixteen points of reference. According to photographs of its transformation into a Nazi victory column, the appearance of July 25, 1938, was reconstructed for the steirischer herbst. The only difference from the original was an inscription around the base. Listed white on black in the fractura typeface preferred by the Nazis, were “The Vanquished of Styria: 300 Gypsies killed, 2,500 Jews killed, 8,000 political prisoners killed or died in detention, 9,000 civilians killed in the war, 12,000 missing, 27,900 soldiers killed.” Facing the obelisk, on a spot where, in 1938, a wall of large swastika flags served as backdrop for the Nazi dignitaries addressing their uniformed audience, a billboard was erected with sixteen posters. With a swastika in their center the posters carried, in white fractura on a red ground, the inscription “Graz—City of The People's Uprising.” Pasted into the middle of the swastikas were facsimile reproductions of documents from 1938. Among them were several classified advertisements from the local newspapers announcing the “Aryan” ownership or recent “Aryanization” of local shops, and boasting that Nazi paraphernalia were in stock. In others, “Aryans” were looking for jobs or marriage partners. One man warned the public that he would prosecute anybody who spread rumors that he might not be “Aryan.” The university law school’s catalogue page with the listing of courses on the new race laws and Germanic legal doctrine, as well as the congratulatory telegram the university president had sent to Hitler were among the exhibited documents. There were, as well, reproductions of the prayer with which the city’s pastor welcomed the new Nazi era and ads by employees who publicly thanked their employer for having granted them a bonus at the occasion of the Anschluss. Also included was the local newspaper’s jubilant report of the burning of the synagogue: “For Graz the problem of the provocative presence of a Jewish temple has now been unequivocally solved by the will of the people.” And there was a facsimile list of motor vehicles confiscated from local Jews by the Gestapo. In response to the request to add a statement on my project for the catalogue Points of Reference 38/88, I wrote: On July 25, 1938, the Nazis proudly proclaimed “And You Were Victorious after All” emblazoned on a red cloth with a swastika and an eagle with which they covered the column dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Graz. They were referring to themselves. Fifty years later, I hope we see to it that their exultation turns out to be premature. As soon as the obelisk was covered with the red drapes carrying the inscriptions and the Nazi eagle, and it became clear why the statue of the virgin had been encased, there was commotion at the site. Throngs of people gathered and engaged in heated debate over whether, after fifty years, one should stir up the Nazi past again. While most people of retirement age were incensed, the local TV also showed several passionate supporters of the idea that they must confront and come to terms with their ugly past. Among them was an old woman commenting, while the camera was rolling: “I wonder why these people are so upset. They must feel guilty.” The reaction of those who, due to their age, could not have been implicated in the Nazi period, was mixed, ranging from hostility, indifference and incomprehension to enthusiastic approval of the close project. In their opening address, both the mayor of Graz and the deputy governor stressed the need for more education about recent history, particularly for the young. And they stated that any exhibition of art in public places inevitably has political connotations. Local media coverage was generous and for the most part decidedly favorable. No art dealers or critics from outside the region attended the opening. The sixteen posters with documents from 1938 were frequently torn down and had to be replaced. But they also attracted attentive readers and an occasional class of schoolchildren under the guidance of their teacher. Other works of the exhibition were vandalized, too, probably more out of aggression against what the vandals perceived as being offensive to their notions of art or as a prank for political reasons. Causing much indignation was a sound sculpture by the Californian, Bill Fontana, that was mounted on a tower on Graz’s Schloßberg. From atop the mountain, sound recordings of Hamburger foghorns and the making calls of exotic birds echoed down on the city. His project was prematurely ended. A guard was posted at the obelisk every night of the festival. About a week before the close of the exhibition, on the night of November 2, the memorial to the victims of the Nazis in Styria was firebombed. The attack was not seen by the guard. Although the fire department was able to extinguish the flames soon, much of the fabric and the top of the obelisk were burned and the statue of the virgin was severely damaged when the soldered joints of the copper sculpture melted. The local, national, and West German press reported the firebombing, some relating it to the hostile reactions to the Burgtheater’s premiere of Heldenplatz by the Austrian playwright, Thomas Bernhard. Many headlines referred to the ruin of the memorial (“Mahnmal”) as a monument of shame (“Schandmal”), strongly condemning the arson and the suspected political motivation behind it. An exception was the Neue Kronen Zeitung, the largest, most conservative and sensationalist daily press of Austria, which had also been the strongest supporter of Kurt Waldheim. The Graz editor used the occasion to blame the leaders of the Catholic Church for having permitted the encasement of the Mariensäule and the local politicians for having squandered tax-money for such a “shameful” purpose. After the arson, Richard Kriesche, an artist from Graz, called for a 15 minute “demonstration of silence” at the ruin at noon on the following Saturday. Approximately 100 people from the local art community joined him and discussed the meaning of the event with the crowd of Saturday shoppers that had gathered. For days afterwards, inspired by the Katholische Aktion (Lay Apostolate) and leftist political groups and students, people demonstrated, deposited flowers, and lit candles at the foot of the burned obelisk. Kriesche, the mayor, and some local newspapers proposed leaving the ruin as a memorial beyond the time of the exhibition, until Christmas. However, the conservative party (ÖVP) and Graz merchants eventually defeated this plan. In commemoration of Kristallnacht, the steirischer herbst covered the billboard of sixteen posters with the inscription “During the night of November 9 to 10, 1938, all synagogues in Austria were looted, destroyed, and set on fire. And during the night of November 2 to 3, 1988, this memorial was destroyed by a firebomb.” With the help of a police sketch and descriptions from two people who had seen him from afar, the arsonist was arrested out of the crowd lining the streets of Graz during a silent march commemorating Kristallnacht. He was identified as an unemployed, 36 year old man who moved in Neo-Nazi circles. Also the instigator of the firebombing was arrested, a well-known 67 year old Nazi. They were convicted by a jury in a trial and sentenced to serve two and a half and one and a half year prison terms respectively. Reports from Graz suggest that the events surrounding Points of Reference 38/88 may have served as a catalyst for a critical examination of the local political culture. Stefan Karner, a professor of contemporary social and economic history at the University of Graz, and author of a book entitled “Styria during the Third Reich, 1938-1945,” observed, “I can assure you that many people in Graz have been deeply affected, particularly by the damage done to the artwork. And they suddenly realize how important it is to deal with this period also in artistic terms, and how problematic this subject still seems to be in Graz. I believe many of the reactions give reason to take heart and to be optimistic.” (Hans Haacke)
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