June 15, 2024

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Austria: Hitler’s speech and Nazi slogans were played over the train’s loudspeakers

Joe Clamart/AFP via Getty Images

Trains of the Austrian state railway company OeBB stand on the tracks at the Westbahnhof railway station in Vienna on November 28, 2022.



CNN

passengers on Austrian The train traveling from Bregenz to Vienna was shocked when they heard a recording of Adolf Hitler’s speech playing over the train’s loudspeaker system on Sunday.

Nazi slogans such as “Heil Hitler” and “Sieg Heil” were also heard over the train’s intercom, according to several train passengers.

Viennese Rabbi Shlomo Hofmeister was on the train and said in a tweet that he was “shocked” after hearing Hitler’s speech played and the train failing to stop him immediately.

“Annoying I felt above all, when some of the passengers started laughing, when Hitler’s voice and the words ‘Sieg Heil! “From the loudspeakers the train offered no explanation or reassurances, but all this was ignored!” wrote Hofmeister.

About 25 minutes before he arrived in Vienna, in St. Polten, Hoffmeister said it all started with “strange music, snippets of conversation and laughter that suddenly turned into Hitler’s speech getting louder and louder,” the rabbi told CNN Monday. .

At first, he thought it was a mistake, then a bad joke, and “suddenly felt nauseous” because it was not clear whether only the public address system or even the entire train had been hijacked. He remembers that some of the other passengers panicked, and others laughed in embarrassment.

A criminal complaint was filed against two people following the incident, according to a press spokesperson for the Lower Austrian police. The cause of the criminal complaints was not immediately determined.

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The men are not in custody, but their identities have been confirmed after watching surveillance cameras. The spokesman added that the police are now looking for them.

The Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported that the men were known to be passengers, not employees of OBB, the Austrian railway system.

An OBB spokesperson told ORF that two people gained access to the audio system.

“People on the train had direct access to the intercom stations, that is, they opened an intercom station and there they played a message on the train’s sound system,” Bernhard Rieder said.

An OBB spokesperson told CNN earlier that “abuse must be punished,” adding, “The illegal use of Nazi symbols is totally unacceptable.”

After hearing a broadcast of Hitler’s speech, David Stogmüller, a senator in the Austrian parliament, tweeted a video of himself expressing his disbelief.

Stögmüller recorded the last part of Hitler’s proclamation, with a voice saying that the Nazi slogan “Sieg heil” could be heard in the background.

He wrote that a train operator was “utterly helpless” after hearing “Sieg Heil” several times. He called for a “quick report and clarification”.

Journalist Colette Schmidt, who was also on the train, asked for clarification in a tweet on Sunday. “Can you tell us why a whole train heard” Hitler’s speech, she asked. “Including Sieg Heil’s shrill screams? Have they been hacked? What’s going on?”

Apart from the fact that I and the other Austrians were completely shocked: what does a guest from abroad think of when Hitler’s speeches are played over the loudspeakers of our trains? It supposedly came from “technology”. What?! Schmidt said in a tweet.

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Speaking to CNN, Schmidt said Hitler’s speech lasted about 20 seconds, followed by Nazi slogans, and that the recording was on a loop.

The journalist said she was “scared” after hearing Hitler’s speech on the train.

“There was no conductor, no one came, there was no one to see. We were alone with this madness. Who is driving this train now?” I asked myself, Schmidt said.

“It was very scary,” she added.