- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The city of Salzburg, Austria, is a must-visit destination for fans of “The Sound of Music.” But the city reportedly has passed on naming a walking path for Von Trapp matriarch Maria, citing her use of corporal punishment in disciplining her brood, the BBC’s “Morning Commute” podcast reported Wednesday.

“On one hand, there’s no doubts on the merits of Maria von Trapp, especially for Salzburg, but on the other hand if you look into her biography, into her autobiography, you can read how she educated the Trapp children and there was too much violence against children and we can’t accept this today,” city spokesman Johannes Greifeneder told the BBC. “So we decided not to name the street for Maria von Trapp.”

“It’s not possible today to give this honor to a lady like Maria von Trapp,” Mr. Greifender added, admitting to the BBC that some historic street names in the city might not have their namesakes were they to be freshly christened today.

According to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, Austria outlawed corporal punishment of children in 1989, and in 2011, The Federal Constitutional Act on the Rights of Children provided that “Every child has the right to non-violent upbringing. Corporal punishment, the infliction of mental suffering, sexual abuse and other abuses are prohibited[.]”

“Yes, there were horrible things in her biography,” Salzburg City Councilwoman Marlene Woerndl, who requested the street naming, told BBC, “but you have to to make a difference or think about what was the common habit in the 20th, 19th, 18th century.”

“There were famous people maybe treat their children in that kind of way like Maria von Trapp does, maybe the emperor, maybe Mozart. We do not know what has happened then,” she added.

“The main thing is the film ‘Sound of Music’ is a great big thing, and we have to handle it very sensitive.”

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