60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 16 August 1952:

I woke to find soot from the ventilator on one of my pillows. Since my bottom sheet didn’t reach all around my straw tick bed, there was straw tick all over and half of Alene’s mattress hanging over my bed. I purchased breakfast for two marks. It consisted of three rolls with meat and watered chocolate. Then we stashed the suitcases in the bus. Whatta chore this baggage was!
On to one of the grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Cologne Cathedral which was started in 1248 a.d. Unlike those of Notre Dame the towers were completed. I observed a big hole in one of its walls though. It was damage from World War II.

One of the members showed us around. She was dressed in something like a nurse’s aide costume. She had been coming to this cathedral for 52 years and each time she came she saw new meaning in the surrounding symbols. I noticed the organ was damaged as well. As we were leaving Cologne I noticed block after block of buildings in ruins. Cologne was apparently one of the hardest hit cities in Germany.

Meanwhile, Betty told us about her trip up the Rhine River and meeting Duane and his companion in Dusseldorf. The missionaries go to Berlin for conferences and they told her many stories they had seen there. It was similar to our impressions in Vienna, Austria of empty cities with unfriendly people. About 1000 people came across from East Berlin every week after the war and they had to leave everything. Allies were trying to feed and cloth them even while utilizing Russian flags to make clothes for the children. She confirmed that there was practically no reconstruction in Russia controlled areas to speak of.

During a big youth conference, the people were tightly rationed with food for weeks so they could put on a good show. Scaffolding was put in front of buildings and flags hung all over to prepare for the conferences. Then we drove through an industrial section of Germany with many factories.
As we passed through the Ruhr district of Germany we saw many fields of flowers. I noticed “Rats” written on a building. We sighted our first windmill while we were still in Germany. Here we were racing toward Holland and already I could feel the Dutch influence.

At the border I spent my last pfennigs on two oranges and a roll of candy. Then Dr. Rogers came in and gave me a big scare. My German visa had never been signed by the official who had made it out. After all the times I’ve been in and out of Germany, the Germans caught it on my last time out. Thankfully the situation worked out and I was good to go.

Medieval, Royal Castles Are Big Attraction for Travelers

(Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of articles by Mrs. Afton A. Hansen of Provo on her impressions of a European tour she is making with a group of Utah Students)

Letter to the Editor

Dear Friends,
Castles and palaces in Europe are so numerous that they should come in for their share of mention.

Although the medieval kings and the emperors tried to outdo each other in buildings of splendor, it was Louis XIV of France who was the most imitated. His display of magnificence, splendor, wealth and beauty, at Versailles is oft repeated throughout Europe. Not many of those palaces are now occupied as living quarters, but are museums of treasure and art, owned by the government, and open to the public for a small admission fee.

The Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee is a gigantic structure created by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He was called the “mad king.” It was unfinished, but the finished royal splendor surpasses the original at Versailles. Entering the richly decorated, gold and marble staircase, we see hanging from the ceiling a Viennese crystal chandelier with 125 candles, partly burned. On the walk are original masterpieces representing mythical characters — statues of Apollo, god of poetry and song, Flora, goddess of flowers, and Minerva, goddess of wisdom.

Fabled Richness
We proceed through a vast extension of rooms and apartments, gradually increasing in richness and brilliance. There are curtains (drapes) of lilac damask, silk, embroidered with gold thread. One pair of purple velvet drapes weighs 300 pounds. French Gobelin tapestry in exquisite design and color are on walls and bed canopy. Fireplaces are of marble with one of Meissen porcelain, which is unbelievable elaborate and beautiful. Hardwood floors are artistic in design with a variety of woods. The balustrade in the state bedroom is skillfully carved wood and gold leaf. A 300 year old clock within a gold case in the conference room is still keeping good time. Enormous mirrors on the walls in the reception room, 100 feet long, make the room seem infinitely larger as they reflect lights from 33 crystal chandeliers, and 44 candelabrums, hold 2300 candles which are lighted by 60 people every Saturday evening when a public concert is held. I hope that it is almost as breathtaking to read about as it was to see. The short boat ride to and from the castle added to the romance of the day.

Another castle built by Ludwig II is small but none the less a treasure of wealth and artistry. Poor fellow, he only lived here a few days, but it took nearly five years of strenuous work to build it. The formal gardens and terraces might have been more extensive and luxuriant had he lived longer than his 41 years.

History Made
Heidelberg Castle on the banks of the Neckar River in Germany has a somewhat different story—not so elaborate, but where intense history was made. The courtyard here is as highly commercialized as an American carnival, but we were glad for the milk bar and a cold glass of milk.

People of Heidelberg can also boast of their renowned university, as well as the famous representative of the human race—the Heidelberg jaw, a fossilized bone, belonging to the earliest known type of Paleolithic man. Many evidences of prehistoric man, dating back 1000 B.C. have been found in this area.

Castles Numerous
Medieval Fortresses, castles and cathedrals are also numerous on the banks of the Rhine River. A seven hour trip up the Rhine by river steamer from Mainz to Kein revealed a grand panorama of legend and reality, industry and commerce. No wonder the Rhine as well as the rich Ruhr valley is so desirable and strategic.
Though Germany’s wounds are deep, her efforts for the good and noble are persistent, as is shown in the Oberammergau Passion Play, the Wagner Music Festival in Bayreuth, and Kinderzeche in Dinkelsbuhl and the other community activities. This display of talent, with democratic cooperation will go a long way in proving that love and humaneness are superior to brutal force.

Afton A. Hansen

Then we went to exchange our money. It was 3.70 guilder to a dollar. Hofs Dutch Officials came in with our passports after the Germans had gotten through with them. The Dutch looked us over as the passports were passed back.

Now we’re off to see Holland. There was a flood on the road with isolated houses in ruins. We spotted our first big windmill in Holland. Everyone was clamoring for a picture. So, of course, Andre buzzes on. I recognized new kinds of architecture which kind of reminded me of Baltimore. We drove through a town with a cheese mill. Then back to woods, fields, hay in bunches, and our first man wearing wooden shoes! Next we hit a territory that looked just like those around sawmills at home. Darling houses were everywhere. Oh my kingdom for great pictures! Heather was growing in the open places.

A fruit stand stood by the roadside along with beautiful homes and flowers, cows in the meadows, and bridges. Everything was clean and neat. It was raining like it usually did when we entered a new country. We discovered canals, bicycle lanes, power lines, railroad cars and more houses. The autobahn was much smaller here than it was in Germany. LO was having a tizzy about the stunning sights she saw out the bus window.

We drove by a beautiful park with people on the grass and a basket of fruit all wrapped up with ribbons. The quite wide streets were filled with bikes but few autos. I identified a kind of square architecture which was repeated over and over again. As kids were fishing in a canal, I realized I hadn’t seen any ruins from World War II yet.

Dr. Watkins was asking for directions in German I guess. There were canals at every turn and a market place selling all kinds of odds and ends instead of food for a change. A boy on a bike showed us the way to Schiller Hotel which wasn’t bad looking from the outside. It was on a one way street with trees growing out of the sidewalk all along the canals. We had to go around the block to get on the right side of the street.

At the Schiller Hotel cab men were out front watching and smiling. A Rembrandt statue and park were across from the hotel and a sidewalk café was nearby. We checked in and I got room 33 on the 3rd floor. I walked the narrow carpeted stairs that went up half a floor at a time. It was a nice room that overlooked the square.

In the room there were two round basins, hot water, rugs, drapes, satin comforter, two tables, and lounging chairs. It was really cute.

As soon as we were settled we hit the streets. One shopping street was entirely turned over to pedestrians with no cars on the street at all. The shopping area had people walking down on the right side and back on the left side. There were tall people as well as short people, which was kinda nice for a change.

I looked around in a department store for various things to buy and then wandered into a small shop which directed me to an even bigger shop. By this time the gang had become separated. Shopping in groups always seemed to present a challenge.

A store called Gerzon had several shops on the same street. The first shop just had yard goods. Finally, I found the store with some linen and there was Alicia buying hankies. After much debate, I bought a large size pure linen cloth and a couple of hankies. I cashed my two five Swisse franc notes. The poor cashier showed me all the different kinds of money she had changed in one day. I received 4.31 francs for the 5 franc note.

My dinner was especially delicious as I enjoyed it with my two letters which miraculously appeared with the key to my room. I received news from Caroline and my old faithful letter writer, Twila.

Back to eating, I indulged in the most delectable soup since Italy or Swisse. The rest of the meal had peas, carrots, beans, french fries, bread, and roast beef. The bread and roast beef were particularly good. The meal was topped off with dessert and whipped cream. The restaurant gave such wonderful service.

Later I spent a little time after dinner in our darling room looking out at the city lights in Rembrandt Square and writing. At 9:30 p.m. I left for a movie. There were mobs of happy people thronging the streets of all nationalities. Amsterdam at night was really fascinating. It seemed everybody goes to the theater.

I caught sight of clean, delicious looking food in a stand-up café on the corner across from the square. The streets were wide and clean. Once again there were not too many cars, but a big trolley and lots of bikes. We were really excited about seeing I Lost My Heart In Heidelberg. However, we made a new discovery. If you want to see the movie in Amsterdam one must buy tickets in advance. Big sigh! “Geschlossen” on the box office! We coaxed and tried to persuade the doorman to let us stand or sit on the steps but no soap!

The only alternative was window shopping. So we caught the trolley 16 past Kursal where there was a concert that we didn’t go to. With the help of a kind man we got off and transferred to trolley 1 past the Latin Quarter, tenements, and residential area. Then on to the central station. From there we took trolley 5 back to the Rembrandt Plaza. This kind of made a triangle of the west portion of the city. It showed us what at least one section of Amsterdam looked like.
Now at the hotel again, we stopped to talk to LO and two missionaries. Bert and the other missionary told us about the plan to reclaim most of the Zuiderzee Bay from the sea in the next ten years, and also about Avery’s plunge into the canal.


60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 15 August 1952:

I woke to the ringing of the church bells. The day looked dreary, but maybe it was too early to tell. I dressed and hurried downstairs for a breakfast of ham and eggs with Mrs. Hansen. The cheaper rates for breakfast were good till 8:30 a.m.

There had been a big dance last night and Mrs. Hansen had stayed in Weisbaden till midnight. Many LDS servicemen were disappointed cause we couldn’t go. And so were we.

Everyone lugged their bags down at 9:30 a.m. to wait for the river boat down the Rhine. In the still dreary morning I bought a pastry and looked for some fruit. I sat in a street side hotel café writing till boat time. I noticed a bicycle brigade with boys and girls touring by bicycle. I talked to one of them down by the pier, who was from Baltimore. They were from all over the states and most of them were quite young looking. They were traveling with the SITA, a group that arranges international travel experiences for students.

As I got on the big river boat I discovered there were two decks. Lots of people were piling on the boat when we got on and lots more after us. It was smooth sailing with interesting people and sights. There were three languages being spoken at our table: German, English and French.

The waiter brought in delicious looking fruit sundaes. I asked one waiter where we could wash the fruit we had brought with us. He brought us a bowl of water and a napkin. There was a full menu for dinner downstairs. Meanwhile we ate our fruit, pastries, and a candy bar from Mrs. Hansen. I spied a Wiesbaden PX box on the boat.

The boat stopped at little towns along the way to let passengers off and take on more. It seemed there were castles at regular intervals and we heard about the Rhine River legends. We got a souvenir map that showed the details of what we saw.

It was almost 3:30 p.m. and my stomach couldn’t stand it any longer. So some of us went down to the foredeck dining room to eat. Since it was between meals, we were afraid we had lost our chance to eat. However, the waiter, who was friendly and sympathetic, found us some wieners, bread, and potatoes. We also had apple soft which was an alcohol free apple drink. LO and Alice succumbed and bought the tall dishes of fruit sundaes we saw earlier.

After eating I tried again to watch the scenery and write at the same time. The kids on the SITA tour were taking the opportunity to sleep on the deck.

In Cologne, the missionaries, Andre, Helen and Margaret met us. The latter came with Andre so they could visit the P.E. school. We dashed straight to church to give a program. We were changing clothes on the bus and in the church. It was quite an experience with both guys and girls changing at the same time.

Our program was quite similar to the Frankfurt program. Yet we had a smaller and more appreciative crowd. We used their organ but our chorus was rather stale. Poor Bev was still saying “Ick” during the program.

After the meeting, we talked to several of the members. One of the members we talked to was a little blonde girl of 16. She looked much older and gave us her address since she was coming to America in about a year. The branch president told us that they had tried to get a big hall for our program, but no soap. Boxing clubs can rent the hall, but not the Mormons, even after all they have done to help the people after World War II. As usual we had a rough time getting away.

Just like in Nuremberg the first sight of our hotel was quite a shock, but it wasn’t so bad inside. We ate while waiting for the confusion to subside over who went where. Seven of us were in a dormitory upstairs and down the hall. I just took a quick look in the room before I hurried downstairs to write. I ended up talking to the missionaries until 2 a.m. At 2:30 a.m. the manager at Hotel Deutzen Hof sent me off to bed.

Dear Folks,                                                                   15 August 1952:

Today we are sailing down the Rhine. It’s cloudy today, but beautiful nonetheless. This Rhine steamer is crowded with people of all nationalities, a group of American students touring on bicycles, and a group of little boys from England. We saw the room in the Frankfurt mission home where President McKay slept.

We gave a program to a big crowd of missionaries, members and investigators in Frankfurt. It was fun doing it and I hope they enjoyed it. It is pretty hard to prepare programs en route. That one was advertised as a concert, but I’m afraid it couldn’t be classed as such. We gave one the night before in Heidelberg, and then afterwards the missionaries and servicemen took us to the snack bar and treated us to hamburgers and ice cream. I gave my speech again in Nuremberg instead of Vienna and did a better job than the first time.

Most of the cities we have visited in Germany are still very much ruined, although they have been built up a great deal since the war, but when you consider the fact that they were practically leveled, it’s really sad. They have managed to save some of the art treasures by taking them out in the country. The relics from Goethe’s house in Frankfurt were taken to twelve different places and kept till after the war. The house has been restored and the relics brought back to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth.

In Bayreuth we were really lucky to see Parsifal. In fact, we were so lucky and it was so wonderful I could hardly believe it. In fact, I’ve been pretty lucky all along. I think I’ve seen more operas and concerts than anyone else. Rigoletto in Paris, La Traviata in Rome, Elektra in Munich, Marriage of Figaro in Salzburg, The Gypsy Baron in Innsbruck, Parsifal in Bayreuth, just to mention the operas.

Vienna was quite an experience. You’ve never seen our bus so quiet as when we entered the Russian zone. We weren’t sure what to expect and we didn’t want anything to happen to keep us from getting in the area. The Russian who checked our passports and cards was very young and kind of a smart aleck. The streets seemed deserted in the little towns we passed through. It may have just been the time of day, but the people we saw seemed very quiet and they didn’t smile or wave.

The American zone of Vienna is built up quite a bit, but practically nothing has been done in the Russian part. They really scared us about taking pictures, but we managed to get a few. There weren’t any operas or anything going on there, but we went to an American movie and had popcorn. Silly thing to do in Europe, but different. We had seen movies in all other languages.

Our meeting with the saints in Vienna was wonderful The people really appreciated having us come, and we really enjoyed meeting them. Many of them are trying to come to America, especially from the Russian part. Some, in fact, may leave all they have just to get out. Our plans are all final for the Scandinavian tour. We are supposed to give a program in Malmo, Sweden, while we are there. We will not get to Stockholm, because we will only have two days actually in Sweden.

60 Years Ago Today

Wednesday, 6 August 1952:

We must say goodbye to Vienna today. I was up early packing and it was such a job that I was running late today even before I got turned around. With our bags downstairs, LO, Alene, and I caught the trolley downtown instead of waiting for the bus. We had a few schillings to squander and were eager to shop.

In fact, I had 160 schillings or so to spend. We got off near the opera and inquired our way to the Modern Art Gallery. The man wanted us to take another trolley, but it was only a couple blocks so we declined. We stopped in the shops on the way down the street. I found a black elastic belt to buy for 40 schillings. The Modern Art Gallery called the Sezession, was small and contained a few interesting pictures, but many others which I thought were messes or not appealing at all.

At 9:45 a.m. we headed back to the Natural History Museum to join the rest of the group. I picked up a picture book of Wien on the way for 21.60 schillings. I had to check my camera at the door, because I didn’t dunk it soon enough. We really made a flying trip through the museum. The tour started out with the birds, butterflies, snakes, lizards, big animals and back around to the monkeys. It was frustrating to have so little time to spend here. We rushed through the rocks, meteors and precious stones section. We whizzed back to the bus just in time to leave Vienna. That museum is kind of blurred in my mind, but I guess you can say I was inside.

We crossed the Russian Zone again today, but no one checked us going out of Vienna. When we reached the bridge before Linz, a Russian came on the bus to check our grey cards. He looked about 16 years old and seemed quite friendly, but one can never tell with these Russians. We’ve heard lots of different unnerving stories about them. On the other side of the river we talked to the Russian guards and got a drink of water out of a big can in the shack.

I took pictures of the bridge and I caught sight of a Russian soldier standing on the bridge. The guards informed me that he wasn’t supposed to be there. Both U.S. and Russians soldiers weren’t supposed to cross over the bridge. A couple of soldiers had crossed over and had been held overnight once. Two kids of our group went over the bridge and stayed but came dragging back about six minutes late.

In Linz, Austria we had a little time to spend while we waited for Hermine. We arrived early, so we had a lunch stop. The cafe inside was off limits to us and the other cafe was too expensive. So we bought some fruit and cakes and I spent my last schillings, my last small change anyway. I still have $4 worth or 100 schillings that I anticipate cashing at the border.

Vienna People Saddened That City Has Been So Rudely Dismembered

(Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of letters written by Mrs. Afton A. Hansen, who is touring Europe with a group of students.)

Dear Friends;
With the melodies of Vienna Woods and Blue Danube in our hearts, we came to beautiful old Vienna, the capital city of Austria, in the heart of Europe. The trees of the woods grow and the Danube waters flow endlessly on, but the new songs are different than when Strauss gave to the world the song of the stream and the melody of the leaves. Today the Angels Are on Holiday in Vienna is a new song.

The Viennese love their city and are saddened that it is so rudely dismembered. The Blue Danube serves as a shining knife in a open hand, with Russian force on the opposite bank.

In riding through the city, we are told which part is the British zone, the French zone, the Russian zone and the American zone as well as the International zone. We see large buildings; some are in ruins and some are impressive and beautiful. The Austrian House of Parliament must be the most beautiful in the world. We see shops full of tempting wares (much exquisite petit point) and wide streets and squares crowded with people among who are a few of the very poor of this world.

Russian Zone
Into the Russian zone we ride and see the streets almost deserted of people, the shop doors closed and very few advertisements. We are not allowed to use our cameras here. We feel as sad as this street looks.

There are parts of the city in the Russian zone which do not look so formidable. The Pater, an amusement park, with its large Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and many other unique surprises and interests. Another spot of interest is the Russian bulletin board in front of the Kommandtura (Government office building) which was previously the city’s Board of Education building. News of the day in words and pictures give the story of germ warfare in Korea, pictures of Industrial workers and school children. There were books written by Lenin, Stallin, Marx, Engels, as well as a few novels—one entitled The Way to Love. On the front of the building is the Russian flag and a huge red star.

Some of our girls did attempt to speak to a couple of the Russian soldiers but with little success. Stories are told of the sad fate of soldiers who talk to Americans.

We have wondered about this when so many of them are walking about the streets of Vienna and elsewhere. Stories of Russian cruelty are persistent. It is said that all along the border there is a three mile strip which has been cleared of inhabitants. Anyone seen moving in these streets or through the trees is shot. No lacy curtain here. I do have the name and address of a fine lady from the east zone whose family is gone and who is anxious to come to Utah to work if someone will sponsor her.

Happy Meeting
A happy experience came to me the day I stood not far from the Red Star. A taxi drove up with a very fine looking lady and gentleman in the back seat. The lady spoke to me in German and I answered in German saying “I understand you not.” The taxi driver said, “Speak to her in American,” whereupon we both laughed heartily.

Getting out of the car she said;
“Where in America are you from?”
“From Utah,” I relpied.
“From Utah?” She added with greater interest. “Where in Utah?”
“From Provo,” I said expectantly.
“From Provo,” she said, her voice increasing in its rich fullness. “The President of our University is from Provo.”
“Well,” said I, with crescendo in my voice, “Are you from California?”
“No,” she beamed, “I’m from Montclair, N.J., and De Partridge is our president.”
“Well, well,” said I — and there were two beams. “I used to try to wash that man’s face when he was a young rascal in the Partridge home.”

We were good friends from then on and I enjoyed a nice chat with Prof. and Mrs. Frederic H. Young. Dr. Young is lecturing in Europe and has written a book on The Philosophy of Henry James Sr., which sound intensely interesting and for which Mrs. Young designed the cover.

Almost anyone will say that you haven’t seen Vienna until you taste the flavour of Vienna chicken salad and pastry. Seated at small tables in Kurtsalon patio, we listened to the enchanting melodies of Pier Gyat Suit and watched the clouds and shadows slowly cross the golden moon in eclipse. It was a delicate taste of a grand old city.

Part of Vienna’s enchantment is her past, and we meet her dead heroes again and again in our walks. Vienna was and is the musicians’ holy city — where they lived and many of them are buried. In public squares and park, we see statues of Schubert, Strauss, Hadyn, Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Liszt, Mahler, Schuman, Wagner and Bruckner.

Woman Ruler
Statues and monuments remind us of their rulers, one of which was Empress Maria Theresa, who lived 1740-1780. It seemed such a short time for her to have accomplished so much. She was a highly capable woman, who built up and unified the Hapsburg Empire, directed battles and made treaties, skillfully played in European politics and blithely produced sixteen sons and daughters in her spare time and made judicious marriages for them.

In Schonbrum Schloss (palace) Maria Theresa is everywhere to be seen. In the gilded council chambers; in the ball room where she liked to dance and play cards with her favorite generals; in the music room where her children took their music lessons and where Mozart gave his first concert. She is enthroned in the blue ceiling frescoes and painted with her family around her. In this palace are 149 rooms with 139 kitchens.

The House of Hapsburg ruled in Austria from 1218 to 1918 during which time much of the cultural development was accomplished. The University of Vienna was founded in 1365.

The entire Hapsburg family of which there are only two living, are buried in a crypt in Vienna, an impressive building, cared for by the Cauchin Monks. Their coffins are adorned with elaborate statues in marble and bronze — a fitting memorial to the illustrious family who were responsible for the development of the country for more than 700 years.

Much indeed could be said about the palaces and castles in Austria. Rulers in these European countries seemed to vie with each other in buildings of wealth, magnificence and splendor, which today was a source of pleasure and amazement as well as of great educational value. We can be sure that what the Austrians did accomplish was done with cheerful hearts.

Afton A. Hansen

A few miles farther was the border from Austria back into Germany. It was 10-15 kilometers before Passau. With no cash on hand there was a big delay. Ummm! We arrived at our hotel about dinner time and ran into another group of Americans. After talking we had a delicious dinner and later went for a walk.

On our jaunt we ran into the other group of Americans and found out they were going into Vienna the next day. So I took the opportunity to sell my 100 schillings for 4 dollars. We started to walk down past the snack bar. Then the rain drove us back to the hotel. My room was cute with an adjoining bath. So my roomies and I set up a bathing business. We got a key and by the time we all got a bath the fee had been quite nominal.

60 Years Ago Today

Monday, 4 August 1952:

In the morning we ate breakfast next door at a café which was off limits to all military and civilian personnel. The bus tour started around 9 a.m. and we were off to Vienna where the population was around two million. We drove past former barracks that were now the Austrian police headquarters. Then we observed the famous Ringstrassse, a circular road surrounding part of Vienna where a wall ran around the inner city.

Our tour continued past the stock exchange, the biggest private Votive Church by Vidal, and the University of Vienna. A monument of the German composer, Beethoven, was across the street from the University of Vienna. Soon after was the house of Franz and Ferdinand Schubert, two more prominent Austrian composers. The town seemed to have a lot of Gothic architecture everywhere we looked. We proceeded by the folk garden, House of Parliament, monument to the three founders of Austrian Republic, Russian military command, Natural History Museum, Art History Museum, and a monument of Empress Theresa, sovereign ruler of Austria. The guide pointed out the Burgdorway entrance to Herse Square and Palace where Hitler had spoken once.

Then we continued on with the Academy of Fine Arts where there was a big sign that said “America Go Home.” At the Karlsplatz square there was a statue of another German composer, Brahams. We learned that Franz Schubert lived here in Vienna in 1820. We passed by Stalin Square where the offices of the Allied Commission were located. As we passed a Russian motor pool, I waved at a soldier and he just glared back at me. Gee! And the Austrian people have to put up with this all the time.

We ventured over to a Vienna concert house, Kursaal Palace, where there was another monument of Beethoven which stated “You can or you can’t”. Next was the city park where there was a monument of the “Waltz King” who was better known as Johann Strauss. Next we passed the University of Arts and Crafts that displayed a Minerva mosaic and oddly included a war office. I observed a monument to a soldier with the rank of Field Marshall. Soon after that was the Palace Urania, a public educational institute and observatory in Vienna.

Then we crossed the Danube Canal which used to be part of the Danube river. This second district of Vienna was included in the Russian zone. We drove past the house where Johann Straus lived and composed Blue Danube Waltz. The house was old and beaten up. Then I spied a great big Ferris wheel that had been constructed in 1893. It was used in the film Third Man and was 264 feet tall.

As we continued on we saw a carnival and railway which had a famous route, one that zigzaged past the chilling canyon of the Devil’s Nose. War damage was still apparent everywhere, but the Russian’s restoration had little building going on from what I could see.

The tour continued past the Red Russian Monument, St. Francis of Assisi Church, suspension bridge over the Danube, and Vienna woods which made a half circle all around the city. I snapped a picture of the sign “America Go Home.” We went across the canal just before going back to the restaurant, Liebe Augustine, in the first international sector of Vienna. In an important business district there was a monument to Johannes Gutenberg recognizing his contribution of the moveable type printing press and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.

As the day wore on we proceeded past St. Stephen’s Cathedral, new Market Square, and provincial monument where Habsburg, ruler of Austria, was buried. At the Imperial Crypt there was an embalmed body in each sarcophagi. A new part of the Imperial Crypt had buried the Habsburg Loraine family.

Buried there were Joseph I and wife (oldest sarcophaga), Archduke Maxmillian, Emperor Joseph II with a simple copper coffin and his two wives, Emperor Charles VI, his wife Empress Christine, father of Maria Theresa, Empress Maria Theresa, and her husband. Maria Theresa and her husband’s coffin weighed 23 tons and was quite ornate. It was ordered 20 years before their deaths with carvings that represented events in their life. Their statues were on top with smaller statues around them representing their children. Maria had sixteen children and one of her daughters was Marie Antoinette. Her children were all buried there except for Marie Antoinette, who was buried in France, and Maria Christine, who was buried in another church with her husband. Included in the sarcophaga was a friend of Maria’s who was not of the royal family. Maria had promised she could be buried there.

Also, buried there were Emperor Francis I, Empress Francis Josephine’s parents, Emperor Ferdinand I, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and wife of Napoleon I. Napoleon’s sons had been transported to Rome under Hitler’s order and finally were put to rest in Les Invalides, Paris. There was a silver sarcophagi that contained the Spanish side line of Habsburg family: Francis Joseph, his wife, and Empress Elizabeth who was assassinated at age 60, were buried there as well. There was a room reserved for the last branch of the family of Emperor Charles and a monument to Archduke Alberto. As we finished I bought a book for six schillings. They were also selling holy water from Lourdes where Saint Bernadette was supposed to have had a vision.

The tour proceeded to the winter Imperial Habsburg residence, St. Peter’s Church, and St. Augustine Church, where the Habsburg family had had their weddings. Next was a Black Plague Memorial or Column of Holy Trinity and then we circled back to the St. Stephens Cathedral. Then we caught sight of the Vienna State Opera House which was finished in 1869. I noticed a building across the street that was in complete ruins with only ruble left. While we drove past the Academy of Fine Arts there was a monument to Leon Schiller, who was a composer, writer, and director with the Academy of Fine Arts. And there was a monument to Johann Goethe, a German writer, on the other side of the building.

Later there was an Artists Museum and Mariahilfstrasse that was one of the most important and longest streets in Vienna. I could see the American zone on the right and the French zone on the left. I spied another monument of Joseph Haydn, an Austrian composer, in front of the Mariahilfr Church. At West Bahnhof there was a new building where the old one stood. In the 15th district of Vienna the French zone was located. As we passed the Technical Museum for Industrial Trade construction workers were repairing the streets.

Our next adventure included a tour at the Schönbrunn Palace. It was a former imperial 1400 room Rococo summer residence in Vienna, Austria. Inside the park we had a guide to tell us the details of the Palace. And there was a Neptune fountain that people could walk all around, an Egyptian Obelisk, and a private park that was located on one side for the Empress.

Once we got inside the palace I observed a billiard hall with a mahogany table and a private audience room. It had original walnut furniture, inlaid floors, and a Tyrolean sculptured gilded wood chandelier. A domed writing room had beautiful white Rococo architecture decorated with a kind of porcelain. Portraits adorned the walls of Emperor Francis Joseph, his wife, Marie Antoinette, Maria Carolina, queen of Italy, daughter of Maria Theresa, and children of Ludwig II. One silk cover wall had handwriting on it.

We ventured into the bedroom of Emperor Francis Joseph, who had had the longest reign in Europe. The room was quite simple compared to Ludwig II’s room. The combined bedrooms were in blue brocade and next was a sitting room of the empress in Viennese Rococo style. In that room I noticed a Bohemian crystal chandelier, portrait of Emperor Francis, and Chinese porcelain that Maria Theresa had collected. Boy! The floors were squeaky.

The next room was the Rosa room which had landscapes on the canvas paintings by the Austrian painter Joseph Rosa. Also, there was a Chinese round closet with double doors on each side which was used as a sound proof secret council room. A table came up through the floor for the secret sessions. Then we observed an oval Chinese closet and blue salon. The Million room came next with inlaid rosewood from 13 a.d., Persian miniatures from 2 a.d., and one petit point needlework done by Maria Theresa herself. There were chairs that represented the different seasons of the year, and portraits of a wedding and Spanish writing school. Next on the tour was a big gallery and Hall of Mirrors. Overall we went through 45 rooms.

After the palace we drove into the British zone and Vienna 12th District. There was a Mozart Café decorated with a Third Man theme. Our group lost the mob and found lunch at a little cafe on our own. Then we browsed through a book store and were back to the bus by 2 p.m. We saw a staircase leading to the upper highway into the 9th district.

Then off to the 19th district with the Heilioperstadt Francis Joseph Railway Station. One of the biggest apartment houses was built by the municipality of Vienna that included a school and everything else needed inside the apartment houses. There were more new apartment buildings and a quaint church erected in 10 a.d. Soon after was a house where Beethoven composed Pastorale movement in 1817. There was a courtyard inside with grapevines making an arbor. A wine brewery was here indicated by a green bush on a stick in front of the house.

The tour continued over to Gruinszig, a wine growing village. The main road led up to the Vienna woods with vineyards covering the hills. At Kohlenbergstrassse there was a sun bathing place and swimming pool. People were picnicking in the Vienna woods with oak, beech, and elm trees. The last mountain of Vienna Woods was next to the Danube river and then the Belvedere Castle. It was cloudy and I probably have rotten pictures of these sights. The kids were taking pictures by the Russian zone sign.

The city of Vienna was founded approximately 100 years after Christ by the Romans. Present population of Vienna was two million. Next was an elevated railway that entered the 9th district of Vienna, Franz Schubert’s birthplace and the location of a new museum.

On the way back to the hotel, we got out downtown to look for a leather case. After no luck we went back to the hotel. I had a yearning to go to Wein Pratau for a special evening. So I paid 17 schillings for a bath where I washed my hair. Then we messed around and got dressed up. I wore Alene’s clothes and went visiting in our costumes for some fun.

60 Years Ago Today

Sunday, 3 August 1952:

At 6 a.m. I was up and at it! We had a delicious breakfast and said goodbye to Kay, Kathleen, Afton, and Carmela. We took pictures of the Drachenloch staff. The hotel was kind of a rustic old Gasthaus, but we’ve certainly been treated like kings and queens.

Now we’re back on tree lined roads into Linz. We’ve left behind the little Swiss chalets and rolling hills. In Linz there was a new hospital that had been built after the war. There were beautiful grounds around the new Bahnhof train station which had also been built up since the war.

Hermine was going to stay here while we ventured into Vienna. She said she felt like a Canadian refugee. But when we pulled up and found three pretty tall missionaries, she felt much better. We thought we might like to stay as well. The three missionaries included Elder Blauser from Rexburg, a good looking elder from California, and one other.

Everybody warned us about the Russians as we drove into the Russian zone. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Austria was divided into four occupation zones and jointly occupied by different powers. There was lots of excitement and feelings in the bus as we approached the Russian zone. There was much anticipation mixed with fear. We faced the sign “You are now leaving the U.S. zone.”

I spied a pretty red, white and blue house on our side of the bridge with an American flag flying. On the other side of the Danube we got our first glimpse of the red flag of Russia. We accidently went a little way past the checking “dealy.” We were quiet as mice as tension filled the air. I wondered what this Russian soldier was like. There was a line of cars waiting to get out of the Russian zone.

All were quiet on the bus as a Russian soldier came on the bus to check our grey cards. He was very young and wore a uniform which was made of coarse looking material. He laughed and spoke a few words of German with us. Everything was okay and it went off without a hitch. He wished us a good trip in Deutsche and slapped Andre on the shoulder like a buddy.

The countryside doesn’t look any different except it was maybe a little drier. There were rolling hills with boys on bikes in brown uniforms. We headed towards a little town with red and white flags hanging from almost every building. A banner hung across the street saying Herrlische Willkommen. We passed through several little towns that seemed deserted. We saw nary a soul walking around in most of the towns. There was almost no one to wave to from our bus amongst the beautiful rolling hills and fields. Most of the grain fields from what I could see had been harvested.

It was fast Sunday today and Herr Rogers took an apple up to Andre to eat. He tends to get a little unhappy when he has to go a long time without eating. As we passed more tree-lined roads I saw the white strips on the trees for night driving. The closer we got to Wien, the fields were replaced with forest. Even though we were going through the nervous Russian Zone, there was lots of napping throughout the bus. It included me too.

“Hey man, what’s your rank?” U.S. Sentry, Pat Dubrieuil asked Andre. We should have had a paper at the border to show what time we had left the American zone just in case we didn’t arrive within a reasonable length of time through the Russian zone.

On the way we passed a big technical museum. There were metal window blinds on many of the stores and few people on the streets. Most of the buildings were built during days of Austrian Emperor Nikolaus Esterházy in the mid 1700’s. He was the principal employer of the composer Joseph Haydn. It once had been a carefree and happy city. At Habsburg Palace Dr. Watkins had heard Hitler speak from the balcony. Then we hurried onto the National Parliament, Votif Keiche and part of the university.

At the Hotel Bellevue we met Elders McIntire and Linstrom. We held a special Sacrament meeting where we all sat on the stand. The program consisted of a sextet singing group, chorus, and about ten talks. The Austrian people seemed reserved at first, but relaxed more as time went on. They seemed to enjoy the program and talked to us afterwards. We thought we were finally ready to go, but Betty and I hurried back inside to have punch. Someone showed us a picture of Dr. Watkins when he was on his mission here. We left at 10:30 p.m. to go back to the hotel.