Lifestyle & Belief

Vienna Philharmonic orchestra to reveal Nazi past


People applaud after the traditional New Years Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on January 1, 2013 at the music association in Vienna, Austria.



Vienna's renowned Philharmonic orchestra will release details about its connection to the Nazi party on Sunday, after being accused of covering up the ties. 

The orchestra is perhaps best known for its annual New Years' concert, which is broadcast to 50 million people across 80 countries and features Strauss waltzes.

However, the beloved event originated as a propaganda tool to push Nazi Minister Joseph Goebbels' desired image of Vienna as a hub of "culture, music, optimism and conviviality," Reuters reported

The orchestra also reportedly bestowed a ring of honor upon Baldur von Schirach, a Nazi governor of Vienna, and replaced the ring in the 1960s after he had been imprisoned for crimes against humanity, BBC News reported

13 Philharmonic musicians were also reportedly driven out of the orchestra and sent to concentration camps during the Nazi's regime for their Jewish origins or stance on the party's annexation of Austria, according to BBC News. Around half of the orchestra also belonged to the Nazi party, the Voice of Russia reported

Austria will mark the 75th anniversary of its annexation to Germany this Tuesday, and for several decades refused to acknowledge its role in the Holocaust, according to Reuters. 

Three historians have been commissioned to research the Philharmonic's links to the Nazi party, and will publish the information on its website

"I see it also as an issue of image management," said Fritz Truempi, one of the historians. "For a long time, they tried to maintain a strict control over their brand but, in the end, the political pressure became such that it was the best solution to open up." 

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