In 1985, a presentation of Austrian Poetry Today/Österreichische Lyrik heute, as well as Hawks and Nighingales: Burgenland Croatian Poetry and Carinthaan Slovenian at the Austrian Institute in New York and readings at American universities were also on the agenda. I had arranged for the publisher of Austrian Poetry Today to participate, and Emile Capouya ,who was senior editor at Schocken Books, offered to introduce me.

However, Peter Marboe, Director of the Austrian Institute refrained from paying for my transatlantic flight, although flight tickets are paid for Austrian authors who come to the United States to read their own work. The reason for the refusal was that the initiative for, the presentation had come from me and I would have come for the publication anyway.

Austrian Poetry Today received ecstatic reviews in the United States. Back in Austria there was no presentation.

This is how you are treated if the powers-that-be declare you fair game.

from Memoirs of a 39er (Der Auschluss)

In 1985 when Walter Reder a Nazi mass murderer incarcerated in Italy, was released at the behest of Bruno Kreisky and other notables. Friedhelm Frischenschlager Freedomite Minister of Defense, flew to Graz to welcome the “old soldier” with a handshake and “Grüss Gott!” This was a bone in the throat of some Socialists, but others gulped it down without any trouble. The Conservatives raised a ruckus in parliament but smiled wanly when one of their mayors presented Reder with a hunting lodge to while away his twilight hours. (There is a brush dipped in brown paint and both major parties use it on each other when they consider it opportune, but they don’t do any rinsing out of their own.) Birds of a feather (and a color) flock together. The Catholic Church got into the act by giving Reder room and board until the more luxurious quarters were ready.

Incidentally, Reder gave up his Austrian citizenship in the Thirties, before Austria became Ostmark, when he embarked on an SS career in the Reich. He did not have to apply to regain it. He received on a silver platter along with a pension and other benefits. No emigré can boast of red carpet treatment with a cabinet member on hand to do the welcoming.

There was another bone to be swallowed in 1985 when Frischenschlager unveiled a plaque honoring General Alexander von Löhr for building up the Austrian Air Force before 1938. Lohr had indeed done a fine job with the Air Force, which first saw action after the Anschluss. Among his achievements was the bombing of Belgrade, which was carried out without a declaration of war with a death toll of 17,000. Lohr’s illustrious career came to an end in 1947 when he was executed for war crimes in Yugoslavia. A press campaign and public protest resulted in the removal of the plaque, but the resilient minister stayed on.