A stock taking
In 1910 Ludwig Hatschek and his wife Rosa gave the Bauernberg park, which they had developed, to the City of Linz as a present. In 1913, Hatschek acquired for the park a centrally located plinth. In keeping with historical models, this plinth, once installed, remained empty. In 1940, Adolf Hitler commissioned the Mecklenburg sculptor Wilhelm Wandschneider to make a cast of an Aphrodite statue. At Hitler’s express wish the resulting statue was installed in 1942 as a present of the “Führer“ in the Bauernberg.temple.
In 2008, artist Alexander Jöchl drew attention to the statue’s historical context with an installation entitled ”formlos“. The City of Linz reacted by instantly removing the statue. The former “Führergeschenk“ was to be stigmatised by a clear rejection. This led to a discussion on how to deal with the legacy of the Nazi era, for which the Aphrodite had become emblematic. A resolution passed by the Culture Committee of Linz’s City Council paved the way for the historical contextualisation of the statue and its presentation in the Nordico Stadtmuseum.
The plinth, which was removed along with the statue in 2008, has been re-installed in the colonnaded temple on Bauerberg together with an explanatory plaque.