The musical career of a Vienna Symphony Orchestra musician may be over after several men he described as asylum seekers broke his finger after attacking him on the subway.
Vienna is known as the city of classical music and professional viola player Michael Buchmann is a noted member of the world-renowned Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He was travelling on the Vienna subway, known as the U-bahn, Saturday evening having just returned to the city from a performance in the German city of Dortmund.
At the station of Karlsplatz, near the famous St. Charles church, he boarded the train to head to his home in the district of Liesing. The musician claims that he saw several men smoking by the platform, which is forbidden within the station. “While I was waiting for a U4 train at Karlsplatz I noticed a smell of cigarette smoke. A group of three young men were standing next to me and one of them was smoking,” he said.
Mr. Buchmann told the three in German that smoking was not allowed and then, when he realised they did not speak German, told them in English. The men reacted aggressively to the musician and according to Buchmann they started swearing at him and one man “came towards me and spat at me”.
Buchmann reiterated that smoking was banned and then he was attacked. One of the men, he claims were likely asylum seekers by their appearance and inability to speak German, grabbed his neck and kicked him, the blow making contact with his hand breaking one of his fingers.
The three attackers fled the scene before police could arrive and Buchmann was admitted to a nearby hospital. While the injury is relatively minor it could have a significant effect on his ability to play music. “As a strings player, I rely professionally on my fingers. If the movement of my finger is in any way restricted, it would be devastating,” he said.
Police say they are still investigating the crime and witnesses have already come forward saying they would back up the claims made by the 48-year-old viola player.
Migrant crime in Austria is on the rise according to recent statistics. The country’s Interior Ministry recorded 22,000 migrant criminal complaints in 2016, up from 14,000 the year before.
The crime that has become infamous during the migrant crisis has been the rising number of sex attacks perpetrated by asylum seekers. Austria recorded a 133 per cent increase in migrant sex attacks over the last year where swimming pools and other venues have experienced an alarming number of attacks.