Every schoolchild from the region knows him.

The cultural history about the Lawinen – Franz Josef is strongly anchored in the minds of the people around the Arlberg. One reason for this could be that we and our ancestors, who grew up here on the Arlberg, are aware of the dark sides of the white gold. In the past, when Lech and Zürs were modest mountain farming villages, the snowy winter months were regarded as extremely arduous and dangerous. The book “Der Lawinen – Franz Josef” is a true story that has been still on everyone’s lips. It is part of the Walser identity.


Franz Josef Mathies, was responsible for the daily delivery of goods and consignments from Langen to Warth, Schröcken and Lech. It happened shortly before Christmas, on 21 December 1886. It was a particularly stormy day when he decided to transport flour to Lech in time before the Christmas holidays. And there it happened that Franz Josef was carried away by a massive avalanche. He waited an incredible thirty hours in the masses of snow until he was dug out by the Stubner rescue team and miraculously survived.

The new edition by Markus Fetz uses the original texts from 1914. The book was extended with 28 illustrations. The talented graphic artist from Lech worked exclusively with old pictures, drawings and maps, which were made available to him by the municipal archives of Lech. The reading distinguishes the correct representation of the narrative, whereby readers are invited to get to know the Arlberg from a completely different perspective.

The book is available at the reception desk!