Sunday, September 4, 2016

Postcard: Great-grandmother Greta on the Wiener Riesenrad


My great-grandmother Greta sent this postcard, dated and postmarked May 21, 1958, to her two grandchildren back home in Pennsylvania.1 There is a special Munich, Germany, postmark with the phrase "Europa bl├╝ht auf," which celebrates Europe (and specifically its economy, I think) once again thriving or flourishing in the years after World War II.

Vienna, Austria's 212-foot Wiener Riesenrad was built in 1897, repaired after being severely damaged during World War II and featured prominently in the 1949 film The Third Man.2 At one time it was owned by a Jewish man, Eduard Steiner, who was taken by the Nazis and killed at Auschwitz.

One of the earliest Ferris wheels ever built, Wiener Riesenrad was the tallest of its kind in the world from 1920 until 1985. There are now a couple dozen wheels ahead of it on the height list. (I'll keep my feet on the ground, thanks.)

Here's my best attempt at deciphering my great-grandmother's note on the back of the postcard:
May 21, 1958
I went up in this the other night with a few of the Tour. It is the largest one in the world. It moved slowly & was [?]. The view of the city, so pretty. Went to "Vienna By Night" Tour & it took us there & to 4 cafes. Last one long show & good! Got home at 2AM. Awake 7:30. Bought a camera here in Germany. Love, Grandma.


Footnotes
1. Also in May 1958, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was released in theaters across the United States.
2. Another image of the Wiener Riesenrad is featured in this 2013 post.

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