Karl Kraus' satirical critic

© feld72

Court official Wetschl: I shall congratulate you on this sharp-witted idea. In one shot, you managed to seize a new source of income for our assets at a stroke. For every stroller a wet nurse pushes through the Volksgarten a seasonal tax of 50 kronen will now be levied. In the end, this enables us to scrape together another thirty gulden per year!

Karl Kraus, in: Die Fackel, issue 43, June 1900
© Austrian National Library, Picture Archive
Women with their children and their strollers in front of the temple of Theseus in the Volksgarten, 1955

Ever since it opened its doors to the public in 1823, the public park Volksgarten has been one of the favourite recreational areas for the Viennese population. Around 1900, the highest court official Franz Freiherr von Wetschl, who was well known for his notorious thriftiness, introduced seasonal fees of 50 kronen for strollers that entered the Volksgarten. This move led Austrian writer and journalist Karl Kraus to pen a pungent response in his satirical critical journal "Die Fackel" (The Torch). Kraus used to frequently target the court’s most powerful official, who was also in charge of the never ending construction project of the new wing of the Imperial Palace.