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Abstract

World cities, including Vienna, are notorious for their crime history and for the imaginary crimes in fiction and film associated with them. The works of authors such as Musil, Canetti, Doderer, Jelinek, and Rabinovici, and Reed's film The Third Man portray Vienna as a setting of crimes.

"Conventional" crimes in literature and films include serial murders, crimes of passion, as well as underworld and gangster activities. These crimes pale in comparison with the crimes committed during the Nazi era and covered up thereafter. Aichinger in "Strassen und Plätze" calls to mind atrocities that occurred at different locations in Vienna. Only recently such crime sites have been marked by memorial plates. This new culture of memory counteracts the collective amnesia of the postwar era.

The article explores Vienna's rivaling memories. The tourist industry casts Vienna as the city of dreams and waltzes, and critical literature portrays it as the city where the deportation of Jews was implemented even faster and more thoroughly than in Germany. Literary and autobiographical works by Viennese authors of different generations, e.g. Spiel, Aichinger, Beckermann, and Schindel reveal the ambivalence of Viennese forgetting and commemorating.

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