The famed Vienna
orchestra has revoked awards it made during Hitler's rule to six
leading Nazis, as it quietly responds to criticism of the way it
has dealt with its past.
The symbolic move, decided in October but not publicly
announced, follows the Philharmonic's publication earlier this
year of details of its conduct during the Nazi era, which it
revealed for the first time.
The orchestra is best known for its New Year's Concert, an
annual gala of Strauss waltzes which is broadcast to millions
around the world. The private foundation that runs it is careful
in managing its image as an icon of musical Vienna.
It has been slowly bowing to pressure to open up about its
conduct during the Nazi years, which it recently called a "dark
period" in its history - including the fact that the New Year's
Concert was invented as a Nazi propaganda instrument.
The orchestra's members voted unanimously to revoke the
rings of honour and Nicolai medals it awarded to six
high-ranking Nazi leaders, said Vienna historian Oliver
Rathkolb, who has worked with the orchestra to document its
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