Hidden in Graz’s Parish Church is a damning indictment of 20th century fascism. Take a close look at the stained glass window in the chancel. You’ll see 2 familiar figures – Hitler and Mussolini – among the torturers of Christ at the crucifixion.
Their place in hell was guaranteed by Albert Birkle, a German-born artist whose art had been denounced as “degenerate” by the Nazis. After the church’s Gothic stained glass was destroyed in World War II, Birkle was asked to provide a replacement. He didn’t hesitate.
You’ll find a similar scene in the stained glass window of the Martinskirche in Landshut. Created in A.D. 1946, it shows Hitler and his henchmen acting as executioners during the martyrdom of St. Kastulus.
Kepler Bonus: On the last day of July in 1600, Archduke Ferdinand ordered every man, woman and child in Graz to attend Catholic Mass. As part of his counter-reformation efforts, Ferdinand insisted that the entire city to bow to his will.
A 100+ recalcitrant Protestants did not appear. Some promised to convert to Catholicism; others remained “disobedient.” Johannes Kepler, the famous mathematician and astronomer, was one of the latter. He was banished in August.