Two charged after 'Hitler speeches' played on Austrian train

The train operator said there had been several such incidents in recent days


Two people have been charged by police after allegedly playing speeches by Adolf Hitler via the loudspeaker system of an Austrian train.

The two individuals played a recording where “Heil Hitler” and "Seig Heil" could be heard on the train’s intercom during a journey from Bregenz to Vienna operated by Austrian Federal Railways (OeBB).

Police tracked the pair down after analyzing video from the train's CCTV cameras. 

The suspects are believed to have opened the train conductors’ intercom cabins with a staff key and then played the recordings, according to the APA news agency.

The incident comes after two trains had been manipulated last week to broadcast a "nonsensical, confusing mix" of children's songs and old, flawed announcements.

OeBB spokesman Bernhard Rieder told AFP that the incidents occurred when OeBB trains passed through the same section between the eastern Austrian city of St. Poelten and the capital Vienna.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the rail company said: “Unfortunately, there are currently confusing announcements on individual trains, from which we clearly distance ourselves in terms of content!”

Austrian Green Party MP David Stoegmueller, who was on the train, said the speech by the Nazi German leader was played over the intercom shortly before the train arrived in Vienna.

The politician, said: “We heard two episodes. First there was 30 seconds of a Hitler speech, and then I heard 'Sieg Heil'."

Mr Stoegmueller said the train staff were not able to stop the recording and were unable to make their own announcements, adding: “One crew member was really upset.”

After the incident, Mr Stoegmueller received an email from a man who was on the train with an old lady who was a concentration camp survivor. He added: "She was crying.”

Austria has some of the world's strictest laws against Holocaust denial and pro-Nazi activities.

Despite this, offences which involve expressions of pro-Nazi sentiment are not uncommon. In 2021, the Austrian government outlined a new strategy to fight antisemitism in the country, through a combination of Holocaust education, increased synagogue security and harsher prosecution of those found guilty of antisemitic hate crimes.

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