Plans for Austria's Nazi-era Towers Spark Controversy
Six huge anti-aircraft towers scattered through Vienna are a grim reminder of the city's Nazi past.
The flak towers were built in pairs in parks in the heart of the city between 1942 and 1945. Large caliber anti-aircraft guns planes were placed high on the concrete bastions, and hundreds of civilians took shelter inside during bombing raids.
But architectural historian Ute Bauer says their main purpose was propaganda.
"The towers were meant as a sign of the military strength of the Third Reich, to show that the Allied bombers could be defeated. In 1943 when the towers were built, the authorities already knew the bombers flew higher - so they were of no military use, but they built them regardless."
Sabine Gretner from the Green Party believes the towers should be open to the public as a reminder of a dark period of history. The flak towers were built by forced labour, have few windows and their cold concrete halls and echoing stairwells recall a period in history that some Austrians would prefer to forget.
She says that because of the "Austrian political landscape, it is very important to know about the Second World War".
"We have got right-wing politicians, and young people are starting to vote for them. And these buildings are so strong inside that you can feel the horror of war. I want people to have this feeling so that it cannot happen again."
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