The "Dictionary of War" project has four editions: Frankfurt, Munich, Graz and Berlin. The locations that have been chosen to discuss war are cities in the National Socialist successor states that have proven history of criminal wars of aggression and of extermination; they have a history of the industrialization of mass murder.

With the capitulation of the Wehrmacht on May 8, 1945, following the victory of the Allies over the Nazis, the war of extermination ended. Therefore, all four sites for the project represent, to a certain extent, locations after the defeat. This contribution aims to provide a historical-political perspective that perceives the defeat of the German- Austrian Nazis positively.

What needs to be asked is which of the consequences of this defeat remain suppressed and what conclusions must still be drawn. With the statement "for the defeat", what is addressed is a consistent perspective of counter-identification, one that is for the majority that much more difficult and perhaps impossible to adopt.

It is a thematic work on a historical-political perspective that names Austria and Germany as National Socialist successor states, and demands the acceptance of the related consequences. Furthermore it is a question of a developing a perspective that, in this respect, assumes that the so-called "new wars" are not really wars in the conventional sense.

From its base in German territory, the Wehrmacht conducted a war of extermination on the eastern front, which was directed officially and purposefully against the civilian population, and whose declared goal was, as phrased in the Nazi jargon, "to completely eliminate Jewish Bolshevism." On the way to Stalingrad hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by SS-troops with the sub-organizational and real assistance of the Wehrmacht.

The subject of how concepts relating to the war were formed is situated here in the concrete context of post-Nazi societies: After the defeat of the Nazis, the history that was written in these societies was not only a writing of history by the victors, but also a writing of history by the perpetrators and followers.

In 1950, Hannah Arendt published a text entitled: "The Aftermath of Nazi Rule. Report from Germany," in which she described and reflected on impressions from a visit in Germany after the defeat. She writes in the text about the widespread "flight from reality" in Germany, which she describes as a "flight from responsibility".

She remarks that, "the reality of the Nazi crimes, of the war and of the defeat, whether perceived or suppressed, apparently still dominates all of life in Germany, and the Germans have come up with various tricks in order to avoid the shocking repercussions."

One of these tricks that she analyses is the strategy for evading guilt, in which the crimes are generalized into the merely virtual: "The reality of the death factories becomes a mere possibility: The Germans only committed acts of which others were also capable (something which is of course illustrated by many examples) or which others would be in a position to do in the future."

The flight from responsibility for the real crimes resulted, not uncommonly in post-Nazi everyday life, in general statements to the effect that "that all war is terrible." The real crimes, the deportations and the mass murder of Jews, Roma and Sinti, have to be just as concretely addressed and avenged as the crimes of the Wehrmacht, the latter being supposedly nothing other than part of a "horrible war."

With the discourse of the "dirty war" it has long been possible to sustain and perpetuate the myth of the "clean Wehrmacht." Exposing this strategy, which in historical-political theory is also called "generalization," also provides an example of the overall aim of this project. This is what is written in the statement about the "Dictionary of War":

"The dictionary of war facilitates a debate with a reality that is moulded/shaped by a concealment of the existing balances of power, a concealment that becomes more total the more that is said about war and peace."

We are in Munich. Munich was where the NSDAP was established in 1919/1920 and where its party headquarters were located until 1945. Here Hitler and other controlling figures in the NS regime started their political careers. From 1933 Munich bore the title, "Capital of German Art," and from 1935, "Capital of Mobilisation."

This was where racist and military plans of attack were developed, the elimination of the political opposition and disagreeable directions in art pursued. Nearby in Dachau one of the first concentration camps was constructed, and the systematic persecution of Jews launched. Those who put up resistance were persecuted, tortured or executed."

The next edition of the "Dictionary of War" will take place in Graz. Graz was already a stronghold of the illegal Nazis before the Anschluss or the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany came about.

On February 24, 1938, the Nazis of Graz, in the course of demonstrations in which many thousands marched with swastika banners through the streets of Graz's city center, chanting slogans, singing songs and distributing flyers, were able to hoist the swastika flag on the town hall with the consent of the mayor Schmied. A considerable number of policemen, gendarmes and military men belonged to National Socialist organizations.

After the Anschluss on July 25, 1938, a victory celebration and an honoring of the illegal Nazis who had been defeated in the July putsch of 1934 took place under the slogan: "and you won nonetheless." At this celebration the jubilant citizens of Graz learned that Adolf Hilter had given the city the honorary title of "City of the Ennoblement of the Volk" in recognition of the service of Styria and Graz to National Socialism.

The journalist Günther Jacob researched one of the many stories of Nazi persecutions in the area around Graz: The history of NS forced labor in the Styrian Erzberg a mountain containing a considerable amount of iron ore. Until today this history has been little documented, and even suppressed from the public.

In Linz, in April 1938, only a few weeks after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, Hermann Göring had announced the decision to construct the Hermann-Göring-Werke. In the "Ostmark", as Austria was now called, large new industrial projects for armaments would be created, and investment in the production of energy from hydropower were meant to relieve the burden on German coalmines.

The effect of these state investment programs on growth and employment was enormous and completely new industries were created. In view of the future production of armaments, the Hermann-Göring-Werke took over interests in the iron and steel works: Alpine Montan, the automobile works; Steyr-Daimler-Puch; and the steel works in Judenburg. The production of electricity was merged under the umbrella of the newly established Alpen-Elektro-Werke.

According to the wishes of the NS planners, only "indigenous ore deposits should now be used to provide supplies in the case of war." Above all this meant the Styrian Erzberg, which, with the 1.8 million tons of ore produced per year from strip mining and deep shaft mining, comprised nearly a quarter of the total German yield in 1937. The Styrian ore was considered to be a high-quality raw material and the plan was thus to increase production to six million tons.

However, once the invasion of Poland began, there was no longer sufficient labor available because an ever-increasing number of workers were being drafted into the Wehrmacht. Polish prisoners of war were first used for agriculture in Styria in 1939. Civilian workers from Poland soon followed, although by this time the line between civilian wage labor and forced labor had already begun to blur.

In December 1939 the first 300 of the 1,500 Polish laborers requested arrived at the Styrian Erzberg. It would not take much longer until further male and female forced laborers were deployed at the Erzberg. Soon thousands of male and female forced laborers from many countries, prisoners of war, and concentration camp prisoners from Mauthausenwere being exploited under horrendous conditions."

The suppression of the history of the Erzberg from the public in Styria and Austria is only one example of many. The history of Austria after 1945 is also a history of suppression. This was how the Austrian politics of history after 1945 succeeded in establishing the myth of Austria as the first victim of the Nazis:

On April 27, 1945, the new' Austria was proclaimed in Vienna, which had already been liberated by the Red Army. Meanwhile in Mauthausen, at the auxiliary camps and on the routes to them, people were still being murdered and dying of illness and malnutrition. In the declaration of independence, all the legends that were to shape the Second Austrian Republic and its handling of the Holocaust and its victims were incorporated:

- the "Anschluss" had been "forced upon" the "helpless Austria people" from outside

- the "fact that Adolf Hitler's National Socialist government, having totally subdued the Austrian people and rendered it powerless by means of this complete political, economic and cultural annexation of the country, led it into a pointless and hopeless war of conquest that no Austrian had ever wanted, foreseen or endorsed. The German government led Austrians into waging war against peoples whom no true Austrian had ever had feelings of animosity or hate.

The allusion to the 'subdued Austrian people' who had been 'rendered powerless' by the Nazis, implied that the Austrian population could not be made to share responsibility for the NS crimes.

Based on the Moscow Declaration of 1943, which did however also speak of Austria having a 'shared responsibility' in the war, a clause that was incidentally removed from the treaty at the last moment, the people could see themselves much more as victims. Contrary to this self-perception was the clear fact of the disproportionate participation of the Ostmärker in the NS crimes.

The thesis that Austria was the first victim of the Nazis, one of the most important founding myths of the second Republic, is referred to as the 'victim myth'. A fundamental effect of this thesis was to avoid demands for reparations and restitution.

Wolfgang Schüssel confirmed his position on the role of Austria "as the first victim" in an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on February 5, 2005. To the question: "Does Austria now see itself, 60 years after the end of the war, as perpetrator or as victim?" he answered unambiguously: "I believe this discussion is settled. The land itself was victim of an aggression and namely a military aggression."

2005, the year in which Schüssel confirmed this victim theory anew, was a year of official anniversaries in Austria. It was solemnized by the Austrian federal government, which predominantly celebrated itself. The cause for celebration was apparently the anniversaries of the dates 1945 (the establishment of the Republic), 1955 (the signing of the State Treaty) and 1995 (the accession to the EU).

The celebrations were set in public spaces and covered extensively by the media. With the project '25 peaces', events took place that were meant to call to mind the post-war period. Official parties said nothing about the fact that 1945 was also the year in which the concentration camps were liberated and, with the defeat of the German-Austrian Nazis by the Allies, Austria was liberated to a certain extent from itself.

In the context of these selective celebrations a project group came into being that, with a plinth, called for a 'Monument für die Niederlage' ( a monument to the defeat), and for a debate on the liberation by the Allies as well as on the insufficient denazification of Austria.

The project was brought into being by the historian Charlotte Martinz-Turek, the curator Luisa Ziaja, the artist Martin Krenn, and myself. A project in the public space, it was meant to reclaim another historical-political perspective within the context of the anniversary year of 2005.

At 12 o'clock on April 8, 2005, in the Ostarrichi-Park in front of the Landesgericht (the regional court), a temporary monument to the defeat was unveiled that triggered a debate on the process of denazification and made an issue of the fact that this process was still unfinished today. The eight-sided object was conceived as a monumental plinth and it measured 2 meters in height and had a circumference of 11 meters.

The monument to the defeat was a temporary project for the public space that was envisioned as a one-day intervention. It was a monument to the period of denazification from 1945-1947 and celebrated the defeat of the German-Austrian Nazis.

Written on the plinth in large letters was: "This plinth calls for a monument To the defeat To the liberation To denazification"

The plinth also bore information about the denazification process in Austria and its quick termination, about the insufficient restitutions, about the Viennese regional court in the Nazi era, and about Austrian politics of history. With the emphasis on the history of the process of denazification it fundamentally addressed the crimes that were committed by the men and women of Austria.

The monumental plinth was meant to point to a gap in the Austrian politics of history. The monument to the defeat confronted the fundamental masking of the NS crimes that is practiced by Austrians, along with the masking of their punishment by the courts in public discourse.

With a video that is conceived more for monitors or permanent presentations in exhibition spaces than for screenings, Anja Salmonowitz attempted to capture the stimulating character of the action. The work seeks a filmic language: not to simply document the action, but instead to transpose it into film. Not in order to repeat or record the action, but to transport information and the purpose of it.

On May 8, 2006, the Monument für die Niederlage was set up again in Mexikoplatz in Vienna with an expansion of the information and new texts that were written by Heribert Schiedel and which were have also become part of this presentation. The texts illustrated the history of the victim myth, the creation of legends as a result of the politics of history after 1945, and their real consequences for those who survived.

A few considerations should now be mentioned to put the project in context and support the conscious choice to view the concept of defeat positively: When referring to the year 1945, the Nazis and the Neo-Nazis originally spoke of the Niederlage. It was/is honored in Austria on the 8th of May - the day of the capitulation of the Wehrmacht and of the smashing of NS rule - as the day of the defeat.

The term is an affirmation by the Neo-Nazis of their identification with the Nazis. In contrast to this, there is also, luckily, the perception on the left of the 8th of May as the day of liberation. But who was actually liberated by the Allies in 1945? The concentration camps, the persecuted, the survivors and the resistance fighters were liberated. Most others were, at best, merely liberated from themselves.

The project did not only call for commemoration, but for consciously rejecting every possibility of identifying with the victims and putting the "the defeat of the German-Austrian Nazis" in a positive light from the perspective of the NS successor states. In reference to these stipulations, the Austrian daily newspaper The Standard asked us whether this was at all possible for the official Austria.

Our answer was: An official counter-identification is necessary precisely because it appears impossible. The problem is one of developing an awareness of history that does not suppress the crimes. An official self-image must be created not only in the remembrance of the victims, but even more so in the acceptance of responsibility for the crimes.

This involves a radical destruction of the victim theory and the recognition of Austria as a NS successor state. It is in the sense of this counter-identification, based on the identification with ones own role in the society of perpetrators, that the defeat can be seen positively.

The Monument für die Niederlage represents both a statement and a demand. A monument it deliberately was not, instead it was only a plinth in need of a monument.

In recent years there have been long and diverse discussions about memorials meant to remind us not of acts of heroism but of crimes. There is a history of memorials and a debate on memorials. Strictly speaking these are not, in most cases, explicitly in remembrance of crimes. They commemorate the victims. There is often nothing said about the perpetrators. These monuments are memorials to those who were murdered. To this extent they are necessary.

They remain sites of commemoration and also serve as sites at which those who were murdered, those who could not be buried in any cemetery, can be remembered. However, a danger concealed within these memorials to commemorate the victims is that they offer an opportunity to identify with the victim. Here, to a certain extent, all can grieve, and mostly without the society of perpetrators ever being addressed.

With the project Monument für die Niederlage the aim was to trigger a debate that focuses on the crimes and their suppression after 1945, and to in no way facilitate identification with the victims. However, how can such a perspective be achieved with a monument without running the risk of generating any identification with the victims?

We also wanted to trigger a thought process referring to this question and manage to create a negative/anti-monument, a monument that did not put commemoration at the forefront but instead clearly and distinctly addressed the issue of the crimes of Austrian men and women and the suppression of these crimes after 1945.

In the course of the project, a further controversy within current discussions of memorials presented the question of whether monuments foster forgetting much more than remembering. The form of a monumental plinth was meant, in contrast, not to be a monument but instead to float the demand for a counter-monument.

The plinth was meant to trigger a discussion on the politics of society and history, and at the same time to demand the permanent establishment of a monument to the defeat. This was a plinth that presented a demand, that finalized nothing, but instead understood itself as a summons to generate a process of discussion on the repercussions of the historical role of Austria as a NS successor state.

With the project we wanted to address the concrete and factual history of the crimes of the Nazis and the strategies for suppressing them. One such strategy is the above-mentioned generalization of the "horrors of war." If I am here in to espouse a perspective in favor of the defeat, then what is at issue is also, and in reality, the real consequences of this perspective for the today:

- A rejection of current generalization as well as the drawing of parallels between the crimes of the Nazis and other wars (in particular the USA and Israel).

- The adoption of a radically anti-patriotic stance and the rejection of a discourse that presents the NS successor states as completely normal nations.

- Demands for complete restitution and legal consequences.

- Political work on a determined and political fight against anti-Semitism today.