Austria: Who is Franz Stelzhamer? – Politics

For Franz Stelzhamer, a semicircular birthday is enough to properly celebrate “the epitome of Upper Austrian character”. Readings from his work to the so-called Dialect Sound Cloud are being offered in many places this year for the 220th time, in the busy Stelzhamer-Bund area, they are taking hold all over the country. The poet is commemorated on monumental monuments in Linz and Ried im Innkreis, smaller ones are scattered throughout the country.

November 29 on the occasion of the anniversary, emotional stories are revealed, for example, about a son who was stuck in Pasau and was threatened with imprisonment. The old mother walked for several days to redeem him. He was then in his mid-twenties. He was often still in debt, which didn’t stop him from living a grand life. At home his wife and child suffered greatly and soon died, and he lived well in Germany, often lending. His creditors regularly looked through their fingers.

Why exactly a man who is said to be short-tempered, loud-mouthed, brash and calculating flattery, whose xenophobia and antisemitism can be read in notes, letters and texts, according to the oft-quoted formulation of Hans Commenda, should embody the character of Upper Austria and enjoys unbroken popularity not only as an author, but also as a dazzling personality, able to understand what he wants.

Commenda, Stelzhamer’s German studies doctorate and biographer, led a group that campaigned in the early 1950s to have one of Stelzhamer’s dialect texts set to music as the national anthem. Success proved Commenda right, today “Hoamatland” is probably the most popular anthem in Austria, sung fervently. From the very beginning, the lyrical ego asserts that he loves his country as a dog loves its master.

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Stelzhamer’s impact on broad sections of the population is based on simple dialect poems. They compare the blooming cherry to the eternally blooming self, mockingly mock them for economic reasons in German. Austria pushed Czechs, celebrate the many sounds of birdsong and an extremely good emperor who must also be beautiful, because being beautiful and being good, as Stelzhamer points out, are the same thing.

All well and good, but he could have done better. in 1852 The Color Book, a colorful mix that also includes essays, was published in Munich. In it, Stelzhamer railed against “liberty, equality, fraternity” and the “Antichrist” “Jude” is the title of the worst text: “Not the people on earth survived after his political death with such tenacity, in fact absolutely unavoidable, like the Jew.(…) There are innumerable ones and they have an incalculable influence on the destiny of nations.(…) Scattered all over the world, it swallows up a giant tapeworm, sometimes thinner, sometimes wider, around the nutritive organs of every cultured (sic!) body of the state, and no matter how often an attempt is made to cut it off, it is won (…) so far only larger or shorter pieces, but never the heads themselves”.

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According to historian Michael John, from 2011 to 2019 who headed the Cultural Economy and Cultural Research Institute at the Kepler University in Linz, the radical nature of the indirect call for genocide around 1850. is an atypical, original testimony: “These formulations were only decades later suitable for the masses.” Hans Commenda, on the other hand, assessed shortly after the Holocaust: “In the Sibyl chapter of his work The Colored Book, published in 1852, Stelzhamer combined a number of political retrospects, perspectives, and perspectives that are immediate.” staggering through a mixture of modern superstitions and visions of the future. Most of them were not written until after 1848, but they go back to the events of that time and show their author to be a deep, independent thinker in politics as well. “.

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Politicians understandably struggle to abolish a popular anthem. On the other hand, it is incomprehensible that the state and municipalities have so far refused to add additional boards to the many monuments, schools and streets of Stelžam, as Vienna has done for a long time. It reads: “Many of his texts are characterized by anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

And Bavaria? Stelzhamer, who has often even been claimed for Bayern, is also there. From Vilshofen through Fürstenzell to Passau are the streets of Stelzhamer, under the profile of his head at his Munich residence near Gärtnerplatz, he is celebrated as “Bavarian and Austrian poet.”

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