Man’s Legacy of Destruction

There are six anti-aircraft towers in Vienna. I can see two of them from my apartment. At close proximity they are imposing, grey and ugly. Two geometrically shaped, fat middle fingers gestured at the sky and the peaceful creation nearby, a crass reminder of the destruction of man, and an antithesis to everything the city wants to stand for with its delicate architecture and charming civility, passed over two Millennia of its history.

They remain, two ominous centre-pieces of modern destruction in a baroque garden, because, as some believe they were too much trouble to remove. Or perhaps they stay to remind the locals of what they would rather forget. I think that there are still a few Vienna residents who have living memories of WWII, but the survival of these ornaments of destruction has become more poignant now, as we witness the consequences of yet another bloody war in Europe.

I have walked around the Flakturms many times, and read the inscriptions about them. They are more sombre in the winter, when the avenues of black ghostly trees frame them and the wide gravel paths seem to lead directly towards their concrete frame. I noticed once that the graffiti around the lower parts of the G-tower was the only colour in the freezing garden. “Never Again” The bold larger than man-sized letters screamed on the cracked concrete. But we never listened.

Spring has managed to screen the ugliness, somewhat for now, but it still pokes out of the foliage of nature, and the orderly topiaries of surrounding trees. There are some rambling vines growing on the side of one tower, and grass on a flat piece of the other. I also noticed that the pigeons seem to have nested in the crevices and open niches. One day when we are no longer there, nature might take them over completely. And this final thought is not sad at all.

Man supposedly inherited the earth, and in a blink of an eye managed to squander the inheritance. The earth will survive without us, and hopefully nature will recover before the next sentient beings wreak havoc on creation yet again.

The photo is of what the locals call the Flakturm. It is a “G-Tower”, cylindrical in shape and was used to launch anti aircraft rockets. The second tower in the garden is an L-Tower, and used as a control tower for radar equipment. Both were built by prisoners from the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

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