F***ing Austria!

Since most of you know that I am not one typically giving to swearing, I hope you will forgive me for the title of this post. I am really not intending this as a crass word. This post is about a town called “F***ing” (pronounced “foo-king” in German) Austria. Apparently, the folks in F***ing Austria have had trouble with British tourists removing the F***ing sign (Ronan- if I read about that sign disappearing in the near future, I will know who to call…:

British tourists have left the residents of one charming Austrian village effing and blinding by constantly stealing the signs for their oddly named village. While British visitors are finding it hilarious, the residents of F***ing are failing to see the funny side. Only one kind of criminal stalks the sleepy 32-house village near Salzburg on the German border — cheeky British tourists armed with a sense of humor and a screwdriver. But the local authorities are hitting back with the signs now set in concrete, police chief Kommandant Schmidtberger is on the lookout. “We will not stand for the F***ing signs being removed,” the officer said. “It may be very amusing for you British, but F***ing is simply F***ing to us. What is this big F***ing joke? It is puerile.” Local tourist guide Andreas Behmueller said it was only the British that had a fixation with F***ing. “The Germans all want to see the Mozart house in Salzburg,” he explained. “Every American seems to care only about The Sound of Music (the 1955 film shot around Salzburg.) The occasional Japanese wants to see Hilter’s birthplace in Braunay.” “But for the British, it’s all about F***ing.”

What is it with these Brits?? Note that in the picture linked here (I am not displaying it to mitigate the risk of offending readers somehow, even though it is just a town name), the phrase “Bitte, nicht so schnell” right under the town name F***ing means “Please, not so fast/quickly” in German, which of course adds to the unintended double entendre.

11 Responses to F***ing Austria!

  1. Jordan F. says:

    Note- for the time being, I left out the picture. I would not want to offend anyone, even though in this case it is just the name of the town…

  2. Ronan says:

    Awesome.

    I’m going…

  3. danithew says:

    What is the etymology of this town name?

    Isn’t there just the slightest chance they know this name puts them on the map and attracts more tourism than any other name they could choose?

    Ronan, if you go, you have to get a picture of yourself standing next to the sign.

  4. Jordan F. says:

    Yes, please do, Ronan! (If the sign is still there!)

    Note that Snopes reports the Mayor has high hopes “that further thefts will be avoided through the use of increased concrete and . . . bigger screws.”

  5. Jordan F. says:

    Regarding the etymology, Wikipedia reports that:

    The village is known to have existed as “Fucking” since at least 1070 and is named after a man from the 6th century called Focko. “Ing” is an old Germanic suffix meaning “people”; thus Fucking, in this case, means “place of Focko’s people.

  6. Bill says:

    When I first saw the title, I thought you might be referring to this New Yorker story I read earlier today:

    In 1988, to commemorate Austria’s annexation by Adolf Hitler fifty years earlier, a new play was commissioned from Thomas Bernhard. The author of eleven novels and more than twenty plays, Bernhard had a well-deserved reputation as the country’s most provocative postwar writer: he spent his career alternately mocking and mourning Austria’s Nazi legacy, which, with typical bluntness, he once represented as a pile of manure on the stage. At first, he declined to participate in the commemoration, saying with caustic humor that a more appropriate gesture would be for all the shops once owned by Jews to display signs reading “Judenfrei.” But the author of plays like “The German Lunch Table,” in which family members gathered for a meal discover Nazis in their soup, could not resist such a rich opportunity to needle Austria’s political and cultural élite. “All my life I have been a trouble-maker,” he once wrote. “I am not the sort of person who leaves others in peace.”

    The scandal of “Heldenplatz,” the verse drama that was Bernhard’s contribution to the occasion, began well before opening night. The play takes its name from the Vienna square where cheering crowds greeted Hitler in 1938; that square also happens to be across from the Burgtheater, Austria’s most prestigious theatrical institution, where the play was produced. The action revolves around the suicide of an Austrian Jew who, returning to Vienna after having fled during the Second World War, is dismayed to discover anti-Semitism still simmering in the country. After the press got hold of the script, which included lines such as “There are more Nazis in Vienna now / than in thirty-eight,” politicians on the right, including Jörg Haider, called for the director’s expulsion from Vienna. For the première, on November 4, 1988, the Burgtheater was put under police guard. At the play’s finish, according to Bernhard’s biographer Gitta Honegger, a “dissonant ovation” of “shouting, booing, clapping, and whistling” went on for forty-five minutes.

    The hostility of the response surprised even the pugnacious Bernhard. Some of his friends said that the episode hastened his death, which occurred, by assisted suicide, three months later, when he was fifty-eight. (He had suffered from lung ailments since his teens, and spent the last decade of his life under constant medical supervision.) But he managed to have the last word. His will, released shortly after he died, forbade the publication, the production, or even the recitation in Austria of his works, “including letters and scraps of paper,” for the next seventy years, the duration of their copyright. “I emphasize expressly that I do not want to have anything to do with the Austrian state and that I reject in perpetuity not only all interference but any overtures in that regard,” he declared.

  7. Ronan says:

    Bill,
    Wow. Well, I’d love to see that play put on somewhere else. Austria has done a terrible job dealing with its past. The either ignore it or blame it on the Germans.

  8. Daniel says:

    Ronan,

    Austria didn’t get the brunt of the loss during World War II, if I recall my history correctly. Was Vienna bombed like Berlin was?

  9. Peter says:

    It’s not just the British. I served in Salzburg and can testify to the popularity of getting one’s picture taken next to the sign. Especially the elders with the car in Flachgau–Pflichtprogramm. They just didn’t steal it.

    Daniel,

    Salzburg was bombed heavily during the war, as well as nearby Attnang Puchheim (small and unimportant except for the railyards), Linz, Vienna, and Wiener Neustadt. Austria’s nominal losses were of course much lower than the much larger Germany’s, but, depending on the source of your figures, per capita military deaths were about the same as in Germany (5% of the population ) and the rate of daeth among its soldiers was much higher than the Germans (between 35-50%, depending on the source).

  10. Jordan F. says:

    Wow, Bill, that is interesting.

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