The Woods In Autumn

A few free hours sent me up into the woods for an afternoon walk, to spend time on what my friend Hecate would call my “landbase”. Although Christmas decorations are being put up all over the city, here the atmosphere is still autumn, as it should be.

There had been exceptionally strong Föhn winds very recently. There are intact trees strewn throughout the woods, as if some weather god was playing pick-up-sticks and had a tantrum.

The changing weather makes for an impressive sight, with sun burning in through the different layers of clouds. (Where I walked, however, it was still cloud-covered and dark.)

I took an unfamiliar path closer to the tram tracks — the orange signs confirmed my suspicion as to where I had come: this stone quarry was the site of military court martial executions by firing squad by the German Wehrmacht in Innsbruck, between 1938 and 1945. The signs are from a historian leading a memorial/research project at the university, urgently seeking out contact with anyone who may have witnesses events there, or perhaps even anyone who could tell what Grandfather said he saw there. Apparently it wasn’t the only firing-squad site in Innsbruck (g).

Unnerving, to know that one of your favorite pieces of land has a dark history. But it’s not the woods’ fault. On the contrary, nature does her best to heal the wound and cover the scar.

This entry was posted in Austria, Germany, history, Innsbruck, Mountains, nature. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Woods In Autumn

  1. ellroon says:

    Wow. I hope those who died there took some momentary solace from the peaceful surroundings. How many battlefields and sites of execution have become pastures or city streets or parks? We walk over our history all the time so it’s nice (can I use that word?) when people make markers to keep the history from being lost.

    Nice photos btw, but do watch out for falling trees.

  2. Marcellina says:

    No worries, I stay in when the wind is blowing strong — being out in it is no fun. And this was a particularly strong wind.
    “We walk over our history all the time” is a fine way of putting it!

  3. paschberg says:

    Till now I haven´t found out anything more on those executions.
    But gruesome paste is indeed hidden almost everywhere. E.G. the place ab bit north from the Nikloaus Church was known as “Köpfplatzl”.
    Not to forget “Galgenbühel” in the west. The “Großer Gott” chapel in Sadrach was the place for the last prayer.
    It is also said, that the pavillon in the Hofgarten was once the site of a decapitation around 1809 (but I have not verified this).
    An last not least to return to the Paschberg the “Ripper” story from ca. 100 years ago (see also here:, last picture and paragraphs around)

  4. Marcellina says:

    For my not-in-Austria readers, “Köpfplatz” would have been the square where beheadings took place, “Galgenbühel” the gallows hill.

    In fact, those places would be a good place to visit and blog about it… I’ll see if I can find them.

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