Events and “Reactions”

Herbert Kuhner, the writer, is in a sense a historian. His life story runs parallel to history and illustrates that history
is too serious matter to be left exclusively to bona fide historians.

In 1935, the year of his birth, the Nuremberg Laws were imposed in Germany. In 1938, when he was three years old, “The doorbell rang and I ran to the door and opened it. My mother swept me away as two men in street clothes entered. One of them, I remember clearly, wore a brown suit and limped. The other was thin and balding and wore a grey suit. They searched the apartment. The brown-suited man pushed my grandmother, who was eighty-three away from the sideboard in order to ransack it. And indeed it contained her shopping money.”
(from Felled by Friendly Fire, a Memoir)
– Peter Malina, historian

Democracy in Action

„Herr Kuhner, if you do not withdraw your case, we will send the public health officer”
– Anonymous caller, April 15, 1980

“We hereby cancel Herbert Kuhner’s Der Ausschluss (Memoirs of a 39er) from our publishing program.
All copies are to be returned to the author.”
– Rainer Lendl, Editor-in-Chief, Edition Atelier of Wiener Journal, March 19, 1990

„Lendl’s merits include the rediscovery of Austrian exile literature.”
– Bundeskanzler Wolfgang Schüssel

Guess I don’t merit “discovery.”

Memoirs of a 39er, 1988
Afterword by David Axmann,

“This is a chronicle of an Austrian emigré, who as a child had to flee from the Nazis
to the United States, who as a young man returned to the scene of the crime
and discovered that the moral substance of the Austrian character has basically remained
unchanged since 1945.”

The Second Time Around

In 1938 I was in my Grandmother’s apartment
in Rueppgasse when it was sacked by SA-marauders.
What I have experiences since my return to Austria
is spiritually in keeping with that event.

After all the suffering caused by robbery,
the murder of family members
and flight to foreign shores,
there was more in store.

No Pension for the Upstart

When there were “complications” concerning a writer’s pension, Green Parliamentarian Terezija Stoisits’ reaction: “The front cannot be broken through!”

Here’s part of the front: Franz-Leo Popp, head of the Commission Pensions for Writers: “Herbert Kuhner does not qualify for a writers’ prison. The list of his publications would not even cover one page.”

“The list of Austrian poets that Herbert Kuhner has rendered reads like. Who’s Who in Austrian Poetry.
– Harry Zohn, Modern Austrian Poetry Journal, Riverside, CA

Konstantin Kaiser and Stephan Eibel, writer colleagues, spoke to Green politician Friedrun Huemer, who told them to desist.

Reason to Kaiser: “He is against Artmann.” (H.C. Artmann is represented in Austrian Poetry Today and elsewhere in my translation. I would think that one would be able to discuss aspects of any author.

Reason to Eibel: “You are not in Austrian Poetry Today.” (I met Eibel after the publication of the aforementioned anthology.

Eine lebenswichtige Frage/A Question Essential to Life by Stephan Eibel, a bilingual edition of poetry and prose in my translation has been published by PROverbis Verlag in 2017.

A Genuine President Comes into Play

Thanks to Kuno Knöbl I am represented in Das kann einem nur in Wien passieren: Alltagsgeschichten/ Only in Vienna: Stories of Everyday Events, edited by Ruth Wodak: Only in Vienna: Stories of Everyday Events by Austrian Jews. This is from the cover blurb: “These ‘stories of everyday occurrences’ comprise a collection of impressions, experiences and stories that many who live in Vienna have or could have encountered. However, not just anyone, but Jews of three generations.”

After publication, Dr. Gabriel Lansky, the Legal Counsel to the Socialist Party and the Jewish Com- munity and “human Rights activist,” organized a meeting in the editor’s apartment for the purpose of asserting that I should not have been included in the book. Lansky was seconded by Rubina Möhring, Austrian President of Reporters Without Borders.

Kuno Knöbl:“Gaby Lansky is financial advisor to Reporters Without Borders. “

(Messages to Reporters Without Borders have gone responded. No answer is indeed an answer.)

Kuno Comments: “In my view there is a Biedermeier-like silence concerning this topic.
It is good that you have broken through it.”

The Game

Now you see him, now you don’t is how the game is played.
Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the player
before he glides out of sight.

Exiled by the Exile Library

Founded in 1993, the Austrian Archive for Exile Studies is part of the documentation centre for modern Austrian literature.

My colleague Dr.Armin A.Wallas died on May 30th of 2003, the Austrian scholar, writer, editor and publisher who specialized on Austrian-Jewish literature. (Dr. Wallas published my bilingual collections of poetry by Else Keren, Stella Rotenberg and Else Keren in his Mnemosyne imprint.) I wrote to Dr. Ursula Seeber, Director of the Exile Library, requesting a commemorative event for Dr. Wallas.

A reply was not forthcoming. I tried to contact Dr. Seeber by phone, and when I finally managed to reach her, she rendered me a verbal refusal and suggested I contact Dr. Heinz Lunzer Director of the Literaturhaus in Vienna. Again there was no reply. When I finally reached him by phone, I received my second oral refusal.

Deliberate Tactic

Not providing a written reply to request was not due to a breech in etiquette, but rather a deliberate tactic. There should be no record of the refusal.


(I would like to add although my family was decimated in the Shoah. I am not invited to participate in official commemorative events. I am not even invited to attend.)

“In my view there is a Biedermeier-like silence concerning this topic. It is good that you have broken through it.”
– Kuno Knöbl

On July 30, 1998 a TV interview with Hermann Nitsch was broadcast. On August 4th the following letter to the editor was published in the Kronen Zeitung, Austria’s largest-selling tabloid. The author is Lore Jarosch, biographer of Hans Dichand, the paper’s publisher:

“Dear Herr Chancellor, if your daughter were to be placed on a stage with shaven head and have her sex organ penetrated under the direction of Herr Nitsch, I would like to know whether you would still speak about ’the freedom of art.’”

Furthermore, it was stated in the interview that the girl was to be penetrated by a wooden dildo at a private Action. This was to occur with the consent of her parents and that she had previously taken part in such events.

Doron Rabinovici

Reaction by Doron Rabinovici: “Pass any newsstand and you’ll see where misanthropy is at home. Open the “Kronen Zeitung” and you can see what really happens as far as women are concerned. Ask Lore Jarosch how she feels when her letter to the editor appears along with her daughters in the nude and ads for prostitutes on a daily basis!”

What is essential is the announcement of the barbaric abuse of a child for public entertainment. The Kronen Zeitung simply serves as a source here. The carrier of the abuse information is not my subject matter. I should add that I have published numerous polemics critical of the editorial policies of this tabloid. (Click Harry’s Blog =

I would like to note that although Frau Jarosch’s letter was published, the paper did not pursue the matter.

Günter Brus: “Hermann Nitsch stated in an interview on a German channel that we were all guilty of having committed transgressions, but they caught Mühl at it, and now he has to atone for all of us.”

In June of 2005, three events of the Republican Club, New Austria were held in conjunction with the Charim Gallery in Vienna, which is the control center for Otto Mühl and actionist art in Austria.

I wrote Doron Rabinovici, Club Board Member, suggesting that I present a program, including a discussion, on the subject of Art and Violence.

On Feb. 13, 2006, I received the following answer: “I will present your program suggestion to other board members, but I for one, oppose it. I don’t find the topic relevant. It doesn’t fit in our discussion series. There is no reason for us to do it. It doesn’t fit into the dramaturgy of our events. We favor a debate on a topical and controversial subject that reflects the interests of our members.”

What I took to be a lion’s den turned out to be a mouse-hole.

Comment by filmmaker Fritz Kleibel: “Negation in a six pack! – Naturally this theme does not reflect the interests of hardly anyone in the Club. Many have, in all likelihood, invested in this type of art and they don’t want to run any risks.”

There are many indications that pedophilia and child abuse are continuing to be systematically practiced in artistic conclaves, but so far no Austrian journalist has been willing to research the matter.

Shortly before his death in December of 2003, museum director Otto Breicha confirmed that pedophilia is practiced in artistic circles. He added that these groups had international connections.

He told a colleague who had information not to divulge it. They could ostracize you.”

When asked: “Would my life be in danger?”

Breicha replied: “That could be the case.”

(I can attest to the first part of the equation

“One of the women, who is now 29 years old, describes how Mühl forced her to engage in sexual actions with him in front of the leadership of the commune at the age of five. Both women state that at the time of Mühl’s trial, they were forced to remain silent about these occurrences by members of the Commune.”
– Der Spiegel, March 1, 2004

“Mühl’s specialty is minors and sex, and my specialty is the agonizing torture of animals….I could well envision that murder could be a component of a work of art. Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments.
– Hermann Nitsch, Actionist

Nitsch ein Sadist?

“Nitsch is a sadist with a mania for approbation, an autistic alcoholic who’s completely narcissistic and a mother’s boy who didn’t get enough attention. Rainer is genuinely violent and a sadist. Nitsch torments the participants in his actions; they’re constantly freezing. He arranges that intentionally. I’d like to know how many became ill, how many caught pneumonia, how many died.”
– Otto Mühl, Actionist

“Dear Herr Chancellor, if your daughter were to be placed on a stage with shaven head and have her genitalia penetrated under the direction of Herr Nitsch, I would like to know whether you would still speak about ’the freedom of art.’”
– Lore Jarosch, author

Hermann Nitsch stated in a TV-interview that we all had skeletons in our closets
but that (Otto) Mühl had to atone for us.”
– Günter Brus, Actionist

Otto Mühl’s espousal of violence had long been confirmed in word and deed, and his attitude and behavior toward children had been adequately manifested.

The political support and permission to establish the Mühl Commune as “a private boarding school” enabled the insulation of the children and young people. If the children had attended a public schools, Mühl would not have been able to insulate them and they would have been spared the suffering he and his cohorts inflicted on them.

Otto Mühl established the Commune in Prater Strasse in 1970 while he was being promoted by Msgr. Otto Mauer. During this time Mühl went to the Allgemeinen-Krankenhaus-Hospital in Vienna with a group of children that were infected with venereal disease. The head nurse at the time was Greta Scherhak.


Concerning proceedings during the trial of Mühl on January 23, 1990: “After the moving descriptions of seven girls who were sexually abused by Mühl, a compilation of videos was shown after the courtroom had been cleared of spectators. In addition to violent actions by Mühl, his wife Claudia was shown forcing minors to engage in oral sex with her in front of an enthusiastic audience. ‘I have seen the films, and they cannot be compared to anything I’ve ever viewed,’ said Frau Jelinek, the judge, ‘The boys did not want to do it; they were in tears. They received a permanent shock. One was her son, the son and his stepmother!’ (One of the boys was the son of Otto Mühl and Claudia’s sister).”

“District attorney Rabonog, still under the impression of the testimony of witnesses and the videos, stated in his summation: ‘I have taken part in many major trials, but the fate of the victims has never moved me so much as in this one. Mühl engages in the practice of terror. History has shown us what a concentration camp is. What the girls in the Friedrichshof had to go through was just as horrible. Otto Mühl experimented with people; he manipulated them. He was so sensitive as an artist that he thought that when a girl said “no” she meant “yes.” The children weren’t voluntarily there; he had taken their parents from them, and thus the ability of leaving the commune. They didn’t have a chance.’”

Otto Mühl’s trial in Eisenstadt ended with a conviction and a seven-year sentence for “the sexual abuse of minors, rape and forced abortion.”

Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof, Profil: “Some gentlemen in high places – we have heard – visited Mühl in order to have themselves served by wild women.”

Yes, here we have a statement by a bonafied journalist. Mühl was not only but a doer, but a provider.

Was it only women that the host served up!

Hush Money

According to an article by Manfred Seeh in Die Presse, 17.8 million Austrian Shillings hush money was paid to the parents of underage girls and other members of the commune prior to Otto Mühl’s trial in 1988-9. That is approxi-mately one and a half million dollars. In June of 2005, three events of the Republican Club, New Austria were held in conjunction with the Charim Gallery in Vienna, which is the control center for Otto Mühl and Actionist art in Austria.

Those who promote Otto Mühl’s work are disseminating his spirit. Otto Mühl’s art and life are sold as an entity. His deeds are part of the sales pitch.

The topic of violence as an art form is so irrelevant
that a discourse cannot be engaged in.
Yes, it is so irrelevant that even mentioning it is taboo.
It is so irrelevant that in spite of testimonies
describing the sexual abuse of small children,
things are left to run their course.

The system protects officially-sanctioned “errant” artists.
who commit random acts of violence in shielded venues.

“Anti-fascism” that turns a blind eye towards abusers
is worthless and unworthy of the name anti-fascism.

Is the present-day disregard for human values,
as illustrated here again and again,
consistent with the spirit of “bygone”days?

Are bygone days truly bygone?
Or is their essence now being served up
under the protective carapace of art?

Art has always represented the truth over the lie.
Now it is becoming a medium for propagating the lie.

Art was formerly a bastion against the Dark Forces.
Now Dark Forces are ensconced in it.

The cultural setup feigns a democratic approach.
The earmarks are opportunism, sophism and fellow-traveling.

In a totalitarian situation art stands beyond criticism.
Conformity in the arts means that the game is up.

Barbarism can never be a reaction against barbarism.
It is what it is, even when it has been “canonized.”

Freedom of art on this piece of geography means
unlimited freedom for some
and a drastic limitation of such for others.

No advocate of
Violence Under the Guise of Art
was ever prepared
to discuss these matters.
Ditto, for the fellow-travelers.

Cultural unity signifies the end.

Crime and art have been fused in Actionism.
Crime is part and parcel of Actionist art,
and this element is a primary factor in the sales pitch
and an integral part of the market package.

Crime and art have been fused in Actionism.
Crime is part and parcel of Actionist art,
and that element is a primary factor in the sales pitch
and an integral part of the market package.

Make no bones about it: Actionism is a bona fide ideology
which is both destructive and anti-humanistic.
I take them at their word.

There has never been an ideology in the history of mankind
that its adherents have not tried to realize.

I’ve only scratched the surface.
I know there’s more to this than meets the eye – or the ear.

All the power and money in the world
cannot turn the truth into a lie.

– Herbert Kuhner

The Ideology Illustrated:









* * * * *

[1] Peter Malina, Mit der Ziehharmonika, No.1, May, 1995
[2] OTS0217, 6. Mai 2003
[3] Source: Kuno Knöbl, former head of ORF (Austrian-TV) Entertainment.
[4].Kuno Knöbl, letter to Herbert Kuhner, June 20, 2005.
[5] Kuno Knöbl. March 3, 2004, Düsenberg; En Route Herbert Kuhner, Film by Fritz Kleibel, 2014.
[6] Kuno Knöbl. March 3, 2004, Düsenberg; En Route Herbert Kuhner, Film by Fritz Kleibel, 2014.
[7] Letter to the editor by Lore Jarosch, Neue Kronen Zeitung, August 4, 1998, p. 20.
[8] Doron Rabinovici, letter to Herbert Kuhner, December 19, 2005.
[9] Günter Brus, Profil, Sept. 28 1998, Nr. 40, p. 120.
[10] Jürgen Kremb: „Opfer der Kommine“ Der Spiegel, No. 10, March 1, 2004, p. 156.
[11] Falter 24-30, 7, No. 30, 1998, p. 18.
[12] Paula Devarney: “Nitsch – Art of Killing,” Caellian, 9. Oct. 1970; Hermann Nitsch: Das rote Tuch – Das Orgien Mysterien Theater – Im Spiegel der Presse 1960-1988, Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p. 106.
[13] Andreas Schlothauer, Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 122.
[14] Letter to the editor by Lore Jarosch, Neue Kronen Zeitung, August 4, 1998, p. 20.
[15] Sources: Greta Scherhak; Walter Jaromin, Detective.
[16] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p 174 :Schlothauer concerning proceedings during the trial of Otto Mühl on January 23, 1990
[17] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p 174.
[18] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, cover blurb.
[19] Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof: “Ein Echter Österreicher,“ Profil, No. 8, Feb. 16, 1998, p. 102.
[20] Manfred Seeh: Mühl-Kommune: “Rund 18 Millionen Schilling ‚Schweigegeld‘ an Zeugen,“ Die Presse, Vienna, Feb. 10, 1998, p. 10.