The Corner


Here’s a fascinating story from Austria (yes, really!) by way of blogger Bill Dawson. The background is the arrival of an Austrian delegation in Moscow in 1955 to negotiate the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Austria.

Leopold Figl, the Austrian foreign minister, was chatting to Soviet foreign minister Molotov. Figl had been in a concentration camp from the time of Austria’s annexation by Germany in 1938 until the end of the war. This is what he said to Molotov:

“Your name has always made an impression on me. Most of all it made an impression on me when we in the concentration camp had to assemble in the yard at five o’clock in the morning. It was cold and we had to stand there for hours. Suddenly your voice came over the loudspeaker. That was when you had concluded the pact with Hitler-Germany [Hitler-Stalin pact, 1939].”

Well said.

Molotov, like so many of the old Communist butchers, got away with it. He lingered on in Moscow until the late 1980s, If I recall correctly, a nasty old pensioner who should have had the death of millions on his conscience except for the fact that he didn’t have one.

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