Austrian Lives

Alex Gogan , Staff Writer

Mathias Steinlechner, the teaching assistant in the German language department discussed on his Austrian history Thursday.

He began by asking the attendees whether they’ve seen the movie The Sound of Music. He said when most people think of Austria they think of the Von Trapp family.

In his discussion he wanted to show his own life in Austria and what he experienced. Steinlechner was born in Vorarlberg with a twin brother and a sister. They lived in his mother’s home state. His father was from Tirol, a state in the Alps.

While growing up in Austria Steinlechner was exposed to the importance of land, linguistic varieties, and treating others well. The Linguistic varieties of Austria are German, Alemannic, and Austro-Bavarian.

For someone who is traveling or learned one dialect they will feel a little out of place as people will know they’re not from the area. Luckily in the last twenty years that has changed. There is less feeling of difference as people seem to overlook them and accept that a the differences.

During and after World War II Austrians were concerned about being affiliated with the Nazi party. Although they had been prepared for the Nazi’s arrival, they pounced on the opportunity to be known as “a small, insignificant country.” I

Steinlechner was raised Catholic, but he is not as religious now. Whenever he would visit his grandparents they would all go to church as a family. One of the main holidays they would celebrate was Christmas, which was on the sixth of December in Steinchner’s culture. For Christmas, Saint Nicholas and Knecht Ruprecht would come to the houses of children and deliver presents.

One of Steinlechner major events in his life was a dark chapter in the family history.

Gender and sexuality were quite different in the past for Austria, women had separate tables and handicapped individuals were not to sit away from the others and with the women.

When Steinlechner grandmother’s brother came out as being gay, it was not widely accepted and it drove him to commit suicide.

Luckily this side of Austria has changed.

Steinlechner said that Austria is now a open, multicultural, and welcoming country. He is thankful for being in the United States and loves his home country.