FECL 32 (March 1995):


For years, German nationalist folklore, sports, and student associations have met at an annual memorial celebration on the picturesque mountain top of Ulrichsberg, near Klagenfurt. Regularly, the event drew busloads of former members of SS troops from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium and "guest-delegations" of Italian fascists. Some of those attending carried their old SS uniforms, and German nationalist students in uniforms drew their swords, when speakers surrounded by an ocean of flags told tales about the camaraderie of old days, Germany's fight against Bolshevism and for a "free, united Europe", and called for a minute of silence in honour of German war criminals, such as Rudolf Hess.

There was music too at the Ulrichsberg ceremonies, played by a brass band of . . . the Austrian army. The regional government seldom missed an occasion to send a representative to the Ulrichsberg. Regional Gendarmerie assured an orderly and intimate atmosphere by keeping away "undesirable" witnesses. Thus, on one occasion, a Dutch TV team trying to film the event was threatened and "escorted" back to their car by police.

For years, Austrian anti-Nazi organisations demanded the prohibition of the Ulrichsberg ceremony - without success.

But in response to the recent increase in extreme-right violence in Austria, The Federal Interior Ministry has now announced that it will no longer authorise any official participation of the Command of the Carinthian Gendarmerie at the meeting. A spokesman for the Ministry said that the decision was based on evidence of regular involvement of extreme right groups in the ceremony.

In the meantime, a member of the regional state security (Staatspolizei), has revealed that Peter Binder and Franz Radl, two neo-Nazis accused of involvement in the letter bombings of the past two years, attended the Ulrichsberg ceremony last year.

As for the further participation of its brass band, the army has not taken any decision yet. Spokesmen said that the army had not been officially notified of the Interior Ministry's decision.


Source: Kärntner Tageszeitung, 16.1.95, our sources.