Linz to rename Porsche Street after probing car designer’s Nazi past | Austria

The Austrian city of Linz has announced plans to rename a street in honor of the founder of luxury carmaker Porsche after a commission investigating controversial names found his Nazi past “problematic”.

The renaming of streets and other public places is still a hotly debated issue in Austria – the birthplace of Adolf Hitler – which Nazi Germany annexed in 1938 and has long stood out as a victim.

Only in the past three decades has the country begun to seriously examine its role in the Holocaust, which saw the murder of around a third of Austria’s Jewish population of 200,000.

The Porscheweg and three other streets are to be renamed in Linz, 185 km west of Vienna, a city spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.

The city senate is expected to approve the name change this month, she added. No new names have yet been set for the streets.

Linz commissioned a commission of six experts in 2019 to survey the city’s street names.

In its report published in November, the commission noted 64 “problematic” names out of a total of 1,158 names.

They are owned by 61 men and three women who were at the very least Nazi Party members, if not active supporters propagating Nazi ideology, the report noted.

Four men in particular have been branded anti-Semites, including Austrian-born engineer Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the luxury car brand that bears his name.

“Porsche played a central role in the NS [National Socialism] the war economy and actively promoted the forced labor of prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates,” the city said in a statement, announcing the commission’s findings.

In doing so, Porsche “accepted their deaths and those of their children due to the inhumane conditions in the camps”, he added.

Porsche did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP, but the company told the Kurier newspaper it did not support the name change.

“In our view, erasing history from public space does not lead to any social progress,” he said.

The other three names the commission found particularly “tainted” – and whose street names will be changed – were composer Hans Pfitzner, artist Franz Resl and bishop Johannes Maria Gföllner.

Many streets across Austria have been renamed or contextualized by plaques after they were deemed racist, often honoring anti-Semitic or otherwise tainted historical figures.

Streets that reference Porsche still exist in other parts of Austria.

theguardian Gt

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