Tram Driver’s Sieg Heil Gag Fails

News | Vienna Review | December 2008 / January 2009

In an apparent failed attempt at humor, a Vienna tram driver has been temporarily suspended for calling out "Sieg Heil!" over the public address system on Oct. 25.

Vienna’s public transit authority, the Wiener Linien, has confirmed that the driver has only been accused of saying "Sieg Heil!" into his microphone, while announcing the closing of the Street Car Line No. 1 in Vienna’s inner city.

The driver’s exact words were, "Sehr geehrte Fahrgäste. Wir umrunden nun ein letztes Mal mit der Linie 1 den Wiener Ring, den Orbit rund um den Stephansdom. Vielehistorische Ereignisse haben hier stattgefunden. Sieg Heil!" ("Dear passengers. We are now travelling around the Viennese Ringstrasse for the last time. Many historical events have happened here. Sieg Heil!"), according to the Jewish online newspaper "Die Jüdische."

If it is determined that the man did in fact utter the Nazi salute, he will almost certainly lose his job, said a spokeswoman for the Wiener Linien.

The following day, on the Austrian National Holiday, the routes of trams on the Ring Boulevard were to be changed. The No. 1 has been one of the most-popular route for tourists as it passes some of the most-important buildings in the city, such as the Burgtheater, city hall, Parliament and the City Opera.

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