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1941, Main Railway Station

Two lions are commissioned by the Nazi regime from stonemason Jakob Adelhart in Hallein. In 1999, after a discussion, the Linz city council declares them ideologically innocuous.

Jakob Adelhart, who came from Hallein, was regarded as an expressionist sculptor and, as such, was considered by many people to be a representative of “degenerate art”. One of his works, a block of masks over the main doors of the Salzburg Festspielhaus [Festival Theatre] was removed in 1938 and replaced after 1945. Despite that, due to the connections he cultivated, he received commissions from the Nazi state such as that in 1941 for four lions with shields for the bridgeheads of the Salzburg Staatsbrücke. Only two of the lions were completed and after the war they were sold to the City of Linz and erected in front of the railway station. They rapidly developed into a popular meeting point there.

In 1999 the Munich artist Wolfram P. Kastner provoked a fierce debate about how to deal with “Nazi art” in public space when he covered the two lions in camouflage netting. During rebuilding of the central railway station, demands for the removal of the lions increased in strength. In September 1999 the City of Linz councillors debated the issue of what should happen to the lions. The Freedom Party talked of “lion haters” and brought in a motion to have the lions reinstated in an attractive place in the station. Although the Socialist Party argued against “unnecessary” FPÖ criticism of Kastner’s artistic activity, the motion to have the lions reinstated after the renovation of the station was passed with only a few abstentions by members of the Green Party and a Citizens’ Party.

Literatur:
JOHN, Michael: Beschlagnahmte Vermögen und „Arisierungen“ in Linz. In: Bericht über den achtzehnten Österreichischen Historikertag. Innsbruck, Wien 1991. S. 86 – 96.

Dokument:

63 kolosseum 1-3 (OÖLA Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Linz, Sch. 6, Akt Kolosseum, Kino Epstein) „Die Gauleitung der NSDAP berichtet der „Vermögensverkehrsstelle für kommissarische Verwaltung“ in Wien – einer der zentralen Institutionen der „Arisierungen“ – über den „Tarnversuch“ des Kolosseum-Kinos. Es folgte eine lange Auseinandersetzung zwischen der Reichsfilmkammer und lokalen NSDAP-Funktionären um die kommissarische Leitung des Kinos.“

Erstes Bild
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Foto:
63 Schillerplatz 1 Kolosseum_1 nach 1936 Kolosseum Kino, Standort Schillerplatz (seit 1936). Undatiert. Archiv der Stadt Linz.