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Crowds in Vienna during Anschluss; Hitler motorcade and at Hotel Imperial

Film | Accession Number: 2006.265.2 | RG Number: RG-60.4553 | Film ID: 2828

Leaflets and newspapers litter a Vienna street and swirl around in the wind. Pro-Schuschnigg graffiti and the Vaterlandisches Front [Fatherland Front] symbol are visible on the pavement near Hotel Atlanta. The scene shifts to show crowds of people on the street. They appear to be shouting slogans and some give the Nazi salute. At 01:04:49 the German travel agency "Deutsches Reich" on Kärtner Strasse is visible, complete with Nazi eagle. This was a notorious meeting point for NS followers; eyewitness testimony at the DÖW Austrian Archive indicates that on March 11 the staff was broadcasting German radio at high volume to a growing audience of Nazi sympathizers. It is located to the right of the Opera house. Austrian policemen move the crowds along and occasionally strike people with their clubs. This is most likely March 10 or 11, when the Schuschnigg government was still in power but the takeover was imminent. The crowds have no flags or other Nazi symbols yet. Before the takeover the Nazi party and the salute were illegal. See Helen Baker's diary entry below.

Scenes from a few days later begin at 01:05:44. These scenes were shot after the German army has entered Austria (they were probably shot on March 15; see diary entries below). Huge crowds of people are gathered in front of the parliament building and some march in the street. People gathered on the Athena statue wave flags and salute. A parade of men in shiny helmets marches by; people are visible sitting in trees. The camera pans across German military vehicles as they move slowly down the street. Some of the vehicles are stopped and uniformed men stand in the street. Austrian Nazis in black uniforms march down the street. 01:07:39 Pan across huge crowds, probably waiting for Hitler to appear at Heldenplatz on March 15. Lots of flags and hands in the air saluting. 01:08:18 Hitler is visible in his car through the crowd. Close-up of ecstatic girls' faces. German soldiers march past Goering (?). German police (?) hold back the crowds. Very long shot of Hitler as he appears briefly on the balcony of the Hotel Imperial. A wide empty street in the foreground and SA men holding back crowds in the background. Hitler appears again, closer this time, riding down the street in his open car, followed by tanks and other military vehicles and men on horseback. Another shot of Hitler riding by. A group of uniformed men holding Nazi flags stand at attention in a courtyard. Some look to be SA and some are Hitler Youth. They salute; they are probably taking an oath of allegiance. 01:12:32 Goebbels stands on a balcony and speaks into microphones. Shots of the crowd. A flock of doves or pigeons is released and flies into the air. Hitler stands on the balcony, first alone then with Goebbels, as the crowd salutes wildly. These scenes are from April 9, 1938 (see diary entry below). The birds were released to carry the news of the peaceful annexation back to Germany.

Letter dated March 10: "When some small group dared to respond to "Heil Hitler" with "Heil Schuschnigg," there was usually a sharp exchange of words containing some insulting remarks about the Jews, with a final exchange of blows...A crowd of Nazis would stop in front of a Jewish store and shout their heads off while the poor frightened owner looked on helplessely from upper windows. It was really dreadful."

March 11 diary entry: "Streets full of marching, shouting crowds. Followed one and heard "Schuschnigg ist zurueckgetreten [Schuchnigg has resigned]." Policemen seemed to be leaving the center of the action...Saw a policeman give a Nazi salute, called a traitor, but before long, all were giving. Armbands, flags, swastikas appeared like magic."

March 15 diary entry: "The "Fuehrer" due to speak at 11 in Heldenplatz. We went and hope we got some good pictures of the saluting crowds, as well as of him at his hotel...Meanwhile troops had arrived and tanks and machine guns etc. etc. till they filled the streets & no cars were running. Army of Occupation!"

April 9 diary entry: "Der tag des Grossdeutschen Reiches!" We go early and see the arrival of Hitler at the Rathaus received by Burgomeister; announcement of Day by Goebbels; 2 min of silence...carrier pigeons released; Fuehrer appears -- salutes, heils, songs."

Letter dated April 10: "Hitler arrived in Vienna at eleven o'clock and proceeded by auto to the City one minute before twelve the formal proclamation of the "Tag des Grossdeutschen Reiches" was made from the balcony of the City Halll...Then Hitler appeared on the balcony and everyone "heiled" and saluted and yelled (with two notable exceptions)...Ross and I were at the City Hall, then roamed the town taking pictures until three o'clock...."

Event:  March-April 1938
Vienna, Austria
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Stan Baker
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 22:02:18
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