War in front of the museum


© Austrian National Library, Picture Archive
The liberation of Vienna in April 1945. Fights of the Soviet Army against the German Wehrmacht at Maria-Theresien-Platz

Soviet batteries had been placed on Heldenplatz. They were firing at invisible enemies somewhere beyond the houses who would shoot back. (…) I was not curious but everything seemed so surreal that I did not realise the inherent danger of the situation.

Eye-witness report, Vienna 1945
Translated from: Milo Dor, Meine Reisen nach Wien und andere Verirrungen, 1974


In April 1945, the war’s front lines reached Vienna’s inner city, and the Imperial Palace grounds saw fighting between the German Wehrmacht and the Red Army. Supported by tanks, Soviet infantry advanced from Messepalast (today’s MQ) across Maria-Theresien-Platz towards Heldenplatz.