Vienna Philharmonic revokes honors to Nazis

The famed Vienna Philharmonicorchestra has revoked awards it made during Hitler's rule to sixleading Nazis, as it quietly responds to criticism of the way ithas dealt with its past.

The symbolic move, decided in October but not publiclyannounced, follows the Philharmonic's publication earlier thisyear of details of its conduct during the Nazi era, which itrevealed for the first time.

The orchestra is best known for its New Year's Concert, anannual gala of Strauss waltzes which is broadcast to millionsaround the world. The private foundation that runs it is carefulin managing its image as an icon of musical Vienna.

It has been slowly bowing to pressure to open up about itsconduct during the Nazi years, which it recently called a "darkperiod" in its history - including the fact that the New Year'sConcert was invented as a Nazi propaganda instrument.

The orchestra's members voted unanimously to revoke therings of honour and Nicolai medals it awarded to sixhigh-ranking Nazi leaders, said Vienna historian OliverRathkolb, who has worked with the orchestra to document itspast.

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