Trekking with Becky

Photo Friday: Hitler’s Vienna

About to enjoy Viennese apple strudel for my birthday in Café Central, which was THE hang-out for intellectuals in pre-WWI Vienna.

Hitler’s Vienna was unquestionably different from the Vienna we know today, but there’s no doubt that it was magnificent. Vienna is the classiest, most glorious city I’ve ever seen, which makes it hard to imagine a person like Adolf Hitler there as an ordinary Joe.

Although my favourite period in history is the Tudor era, I’ve long been fascinated with the Nazis because of the psychological power it took for them to obtain and maintain control and the horrific results.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand why and how things happen, and in doing so, you need to go back to the beginning.


Hitler wasn’t born and raised in Vienna, but he lived there from 1905-1913.  He sold watercolour postcards of images of the city that he had painted.  He eventually became homeless, and Vienna is where his hatred of Jews escalated.  When he was back in Vienna in 1938, Vienna was really his since he had been victorious in taking over Austria, known as the Anschluss.

Let me take you on a photo tour of Hitler’s Vienna as a reminder that anyone, no matter how humble his/her beginnings, is capable of terrible destruction, and that the (arguably) biggest reason why history repeats itself is because people forget.


Let’s start with Hitler’s Vienna during his early adulthood.


He got rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts twice, once in 1907 and again in 1908.  One can only imagine how different things would have been had he been accepted.  He was encouraged to study architecture instead, but he couldn’t since he didn’t finish high school.

The Academy of Fine Arts, where Hitler applied and was rejected twice.


Not too far is Café Central, a majestic Viennese café that opened in 1876. ↓

Café Central.


This majestic café, which is just a few minutes away on foot, was the big hang-out for intellectuals. People would discuss everything, particularly things like politics, literature, and issues of the day. Hitler was a regular, along with other famous people, including Sigmund Freud, Theodor Herzl, and Peter Altenberg.  Stalin was also went to Cafe Central when he lived in Vienna back in 1913. I can’t help but wonder if Hitler and Stalin met and chit-chatted.

What I found particularly interesting is that Judenplatz, the Jewish Square, which was the heart of Jewish life in the Middle Ages, is just a few minutes away on foot.  ↓

The Holocaust Memorial in the middle of Judenplatz.


Now, Hitler’s Vienna…undisputed.


On the way out heading in the general direction toward the Danube, you’ll pass by the only synagogue in Vienna. ↓

The only synagogue in Vienna being guarded.


Of course, when Hitler was here as a young adult before World War I, there were many synagogues.  This is the only synagogue that survived the Nazi occupation because this one had personal information about Jews – names, addresses, etc.  Even in 2017, there is always at least one police officer on duty in front of Jewish buildings.


Imperial Hotel.

Now, we’re backtracking to the art academy for Hitler landmarks.  A few minutes away on the Ringstrasse (Ring Street) is the Imperial Hotel.  I don’t know when exactly, but I know that Hitler worked there as a day labourer.



However, with Hitler’s victorious annexation in 1938, he was an honoured guest the night before his victory show.

His car and his entourage came from the Imperial Hotel.


On March 15th, 1938, they left the Imperial Hotel, drove down this street (toward the foreground), and shortly past the very end of the photo above in the bottom right, they turned right and proceeded through this here. ↓

Right inside is Heldenplatz (Heroes’ Square), which is right in front of the Hofburg Palace.


Hitler gave his speech to the people of his Vienna from the balcony.


Vienna had taken a turn for the worst in welcoming Hitler and making the city truly Hitler’s Vienna. The day after Hitler annexed Austria, Jews were being harassed and humiliated in public. They were forced to do things like wash the streets on their hands and knees like in this memorial.  ↓

This memorial of a Jewish man being forced to scrub the street is the perfect visual representation of what Hitler’s Vienna really looked like.


Is Hitler’s Vienna at all what you imagined?



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16 thoughts on “Photo Friday: Hitler’s Vienna

  1. Natasha

    This was such a well written and thought provoking post Becky, and I’m sorry it’s been so long since I last visited your blog. I love what you wrote about understand the how and why these events occurred because it’s so true, and like you, while I love the Tudor period, I think this time in history will always be captivating and horrifying for a lot of people and it still gets me choked up even though I’ve studied this left, right and centre all throughout school and into my A-levels so I really liked this post. The final sculpture was very jarring to see, but Vienne itself looks beautiful. I will definitely have to visit it someday. – Tasha

  2. budgettraveltalk

    It is good that signs of Hitlers hatred and it’s consequences is not forgotten – ever.

  3. Rhonda Albom

    It is unfortunate that this beautiful city is somewhat linked to Hitler. The memorials to those who suffered under his regime are a good and poignant reminder that history should not repeat itself.

    1. Becky Post author

      The Jewish museums are great too. Even just walking past the only remaining synagogue and Judenplatz are too, but walking in Hitler’s footsteps as a nobody and as a dictator was unique.

  4. malaysianmeanders

    I never realized that Stalin also lived in Vienna. When I last visited, I will admit that Hitler was not something that I focused on. In some ways, it’s good that the city has moved so far past those terrible times that it’s not at visitor’s forefront. On the other hand, it would be terrible to forget, so reminders like that memorial are very important. #WkendTravelInspiration

    1. Becky Post author

      I didn’t know that Stalin had lived in Vienna either. I was surprised. Walking in Hitler’s footsteps is a great and unique way of never forgetting.

  5. California Globetrotter

    Very interesting to read this! I knew a lot of it, but it’s still strange to think he had such a big influence. Makes me feel weird sometimes to be somewhere I know he once sat, like at Cafe Central, which is my FAV! #wkendtravelinspiration

    1. Becky Post author

      It was weird to be walking in Hitler’s footsteps, whereas it was exciting to be in others’. I hope others never forget as well.

      I agree that Cafe Central is my FAV too! 😀 It’s the classiest, most incredible cafe I’ve ever seen.

  6. Esther

    Thanks for the walk! I just visited Vienna and indeed, it’s an intriguing city. I have just finished a (Dutch) book about how the Viennese regarded the annexation, it was all quite shocking!!

    1. Becky Post author

      It truly is shocking. Of course, after the war was over, the few Jews who made it back to Vienna had a horrible time.

      Glad you enjoyed the walk. 🙂

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