21 March 2011

This Old House

My Coordinates
During a long chat over Gugelhupf with my landlady yesterday, I got two good earfuls of stories about the house where I live in Waidhofen - some funny, some tragic, some touching.  Omitting the boring parts:

The house was built in 1905 by some guy named Leopold Fallmann, whose name is still on the house.  It's been in my landlady's family since 1934, at which point in time it housed four entire families (it now houses one American, one Austrian, and one Hungarian, whose German is about as good as the cat's).  During this time one family lived in my two-room apartment and another in the dining room across the hall.  They apparently hated each other so much that they often threw their buckets of human waste against each others' doors.  There was no plumbing.

During the war a Nazi tank ran out of gas directly in front the house and later exploded.  It burned for three days and blew out all of the windows on that side of the building.  My landlady's father later stole a wheel from the tank and used it for his rope-making apartus, while the local children used the cannon as a balance beam.  Another time a Nazi drove by the house and screamed to the balcony, "Ist hier Klagenfurt?"  To his dismay Klagenfurt is, and was, about 95 miles away.

After the war, retreating Austrian soldiers marched along Weyerer Straße, a half a block from my house, on their way to Vienna. They were, apparently, not in an especially good mood.

During parts of the occupation, which lasted from 1945 to 1955, the house quartered a Soviet soldier.  He took up more than his fair share of the living space, but was quite nice to the children.  He taught them Russian words and gave them lollipops, which they had never seen before and did not know what to do with.

Things have quieted down since 1955, although in the past year two hens were eaten by a badger and one rooster drowned after being chased into a large puddle by n'er do well neighborhood cats.  Turns out they're as bad at swimming as they are at flying.

And for anyone who was curious, the answer to the fake headline quiz was "Foreigners Seen J-Walking: Police Take Action."  This is for the best, as the foreigner in question would almostly certainly have been me.


  1. so you're going to be part of history there, such as: In 2010/11 a young American lived in this house ...

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  3. until i saw the link, i thought Gugelhupf was some Austrian gchat equivalent.

    i now realize that it is a delicious apple cake, and you and your landlord, in fact, chatted over it. how quaint.

  4. "[I]t now houses one American, one Austrian, and one Hungarian, whose German is about as good as the cat's" was the best part. Hungarians really crack me up.

    "Another time a Nazi drove by the house and screamed to the balcony, "Ist hier Klagenfurt?" To his dismay Klagenfurt is, and was, about 95 miles away" was the second best part.

    Your house story should become a miniseries on ORF2. :D