The most common search terms starting with the phrase ‘Österreicher sind…’ reveals that Google – or rather Google users – do not think too highly of Austrians.
Top of the list is the factually questionable ‘Österreicher sind deutsche’ (Austrians are German), followed by ‘sind dumm’ (stupid), and further down the list ‘sind nazis’, ‘sind unfreundlich’ (unfriendly), ‘sind rassisten’ (racist).
The fifth option is ‘Österreicher sind wie punschkrapfen’, referencing the famous saying by the late Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard who described the mentality of Austrians like the pink, chocolate rum pudding ‘punschkrapfen’, because they are red (socialist) on the outside, brown (fascist) on the inside and always a little bit drunk.
(“Die Mentalität der Österreicher ist wie ein Punschkrapfen: Außen rot, innen braun und immer ein bißchen betrunken”)
The stereotypes do not fare much better for the Viennese, who apparently are ‘unfriendly’ and ‘arrogant’. The third most common thought people have about Vienna concerns their sausages. ‘Sind wiener würstchen roh’ (are Viennese sausages raw) is third on the list after using the search term ‘Wiener sind’.
Austria and its nasty secrets
The Austrian psychologist Erwin Ringel wrote a book, The Austrian Soul, in which he diagnosed a severe case of national neurosis. He compared his country to a house with two rooms – one in apfel-strudel order; the other – like the forbidden chamber in Bluebeard’s castle – a locked room where hideous, unnamed horrors lurk, but which no one is permitted to enter.
Attempts to deny or cover up some nasty secret have defined Austria throughout its history.
Some trace Austria’s warped coldness to its geographic location.
Others blame the Austrian neuroses on the greatest crime of all: the Third Reich. Specifically
Austria’s refusal to recognize that it was part of its native son Hitler’s plan.
The official Austrian attitude had always been that it was ‘Hitler’s first victim’ – occupied in March 1938 ahead of Czechoslovakia and Poland. But the newsreels of the delirious crowds who greeted Hitler’s entry to Vienna told their own undeniable story.
In truth, as the Austrian-born British journalist Hella Pick recognised when choosing the title of her 2000 postwar history of the country Austria was a ‘Guilty Victim’.
Source: The Telegraph