Vienna church covers up stained glass windows amid Nazi links

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Vienna, Austria.

A protestant church in Vienna has covered up its stained glass windows because of alleged anti-Semitic motifs and the artist’s Nazi past.

On Sunday, 15 windows were covered with fabric that included the words `faith, love, and hope.

According to Pauluskirche pastor Elke Petri, this is only a temporary move and new windows are to be installed in the coming years, she told dpa.

The windows were designed in the 1960s by the Austrian painter Rudolf Böttger (1887-1973).

He had been a Nazi member and was a functionary for the party in Vienna.

Austria, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, joined Nazi Germany in a union in 1938.

According to Petri, the problematic biblical portraits on the windows include a girl with blond pigtails who looks like a Hitler Youth and an “Aryan-looking’’ Jesus.

In addition, Jews were depicted in a stereotypically defamatory way.

“We don’t want that anymore,’’ Petri said.

Since 2003, there has been a plaque explaining the controversial windows in the church.

It took until now to decide to cover and replace the windows because some parishioners did not want any change, Petri said.

Böttger’s windows are not to disappear completely, with the uncontroversial parts to be reworked into a memorial in the church.

“We really don’t want to erase them,’’ the pastor said.

Böttger lived in the German state of Bavaria after World War II.

According to his biographer Florian Jung, his works there include murals on residential and religious buildings as well as schools.

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