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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[A.] Austria

[6.1. Austrian structures of Jewry 1919-1938 - 185,246 counted Jews in 1938]

The annexation (Anschluss) of Austria on March 13, 1938, places 185,246 Jews, a large majority of them in Vienna, in German hands.

(End note 1: Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967, p.486)

[Supplement: From the 13 March 1938 on the Hitler regime calls Germany "Greater Germany" ("Grossdeutschland"). This is an important fact in the inner Nazi propaganda. The NS occupation counted some 150,000 more persons as Jews (1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Jews etc. (p.228), so the NS occupation counted some 335,246 persons as Jews in Austria].

[Structure of Austrian Jewry: 80 % of the newspapers are Jewish etc.]

Austrian Jewry was poorer than its German counterpart and less well organized. Large numbers of Austrian Jews were dependent on charity, and JDC had had to support relief operations and loan kassas there before 1938. The concentration of Jews in certain branches of the economy was very marked: 90 % of the advertising industry was Jewish, as were 85 % of the people in the furniture business; 80 % of the radio, newspaper, and shoe industries was Jewish. More important - because more obvious - 51.6 % of the doctors and dentists and 62 % of the lawyers in Vienna were Jews.

(End note 2: Ibid [Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967], p.480)

[Since decades the concentration of 80 % of the newspapers in Jewish hands is provoking a big anger in the Austrian population, and it's a pity that Jewish tactics have not changed this since 1900].

This occupational concentration made the Jews both conspicuous and vulnerable. Austrian anti-Semitism was nothing new. At the beginning of the century, Vienna's burgomaster, Karl Lueger, had risen to power on the crest of anti-Semitism; the young Hitler had developed his hatred of Jews in the slums of Vienna during that period.

[Important supplement about history of Austrian anti-Semitism and Hitler:

There was a harsh anti-Semitism in Austria even before: Since the worldwide breakdown of the stock markets in 1873 when the Jews were generally blamed to speculate with all nations a popular anti-Semitism was coming up. And add to this the Austrian government helped the Jewish Austrian banks, but did not help the Austrian population out of the depths, and above all not to the Austrian farmers. By this the national movement under Schoenerer came out with a harsh anti-Semitism which did not see that also many Jews were suffering by the worldwide stock exchange breakdown. In these  times Hitler went to school and anti-Semitism was put into his soul by the Austrian school system.

Then, it was Lueger who was working with a moderate anti-Semitism. He eliminated the slums in Vienna and installed new structures of industrialization. But add to this, Hitler saw the breakdown of democracy in Austria in 1896 by giving equal rights to the Czechs and to the Poles in the old fashioned monarchy. By this the German Austrians got into a minority by vote in the parliament and the monarchy could not be governed regularly any more. Hitler's fault was that he was not going abroad to see how democracy functioned in other countries, e.g. in Germany or in Switzerland. Right in these times many East European Jews came to Vienna which were very strange for the population, did not wash often etc. and this provoked also the anti-Semitism.

Since 1871 (since the German victory against France) German Austrian nationalism was strong: The German Austrians wanted the accession with Germany since 1871 but the emperor in Vienna blocked because otherwise the emperor in Vienna would have been a second class emperor against the emperor in Berlin. So the emperor in Vienna was holding his connections with France for a balance of power in Europe which provoked a hatred in the German Austrian population against France, too. Add to this there were the Slavs (Czechs and Croats and Serbs) who wanted to destroy Austria by installing a population bridge between the Balkan and Czechoslovakia. The culmination point was that the emperor in Vienna let come in Czech and Balkan police on horses into German Austrian regions to put down German national demonstrations for a union with Germany.

By all these faults in the policy over decades and by his own inabilities Hitler's soul was poisoned, and also a big part of the Austrian population never got rid of these negative feelings against Jewish banks, against the emperor and against democracy. Hitler wanted to paint, was not taken as a pupil two times in Vienna, got to Munich and got into the German army as an Austrian in 1914.

Since 1919 since the Versailles treaty against Germany (with robbery of Eastern Prussia and with the French-Polish manipulations at Versailles) there was also a mass movement against democracy  in Germany (France and Britain robbed all colonies from Germany). And the St-Germain treaty against Austria gave a lot of German Austrian territories to Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia against any law of nations. By this the new Austrian government did not want to reorganize the economy for this new mini state. There was a big unemployment until 1926, and the feelings of the Austrians and the Germans were tight together and at the same time France prohibited a succession of Germany and Mini-Austria in the Versailles treaty and in the St-Germain treaty. So national socialism had a wide ground to spread as a force against criminal France democracy and - add to this - against Lenin Communism which was financed by "American" Jewish banks (Schiff). The church supported national socialism at the end against Communism, and most Communist leaders were Jews and in this majority they were a target for any national propaganda.

Add to this the racist economy leaders in "USA" under Roosevelt supported Nazi Germany with technique and wanted Hitler would smash Communism. So Communism and Hitlerism were financed by "US" banks to destroy Europe and Jewry was between these forces. Jewry did not see this and declared "USA" - the destructor of Europe - as safe haven. By this Europe was smashed right. These are facts and not a "theory"...].

[Split Jewry in Austria between Zionists and left wing]

Viennese Jewry was split into many factions (there were 88 religious congregations and 356 secular organizations in Vienna at the time of the Anschluss)

(End note 3: Ibid. [Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967], p.481)

and the official community organization (p.223)

- the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG) [Israelite cult community] - suffered from considerable internal strife. Two main groups contended for leadership:

-- the Union, a liberal group with strong assimilationist tendencies in many ways similar to the German Jewish CV [Central-Verein, engl. Central Union];
-- and the Zionists, themselves split into a large number of factions.

[1934: Socialists are eliminated by the Dollfuss government]

Prior to 1934 a third significant group had been the socialists, Jewish members of the strong Austrian Marxist party. The defeat of Austrian socialism, in the February 1934 fighting in Vienna, at the hands of the Austrian proto-Fascist clerical party under Dollfuss endangered the Jews, because by and large Jewish sympathies were with the socialists; eleven out of the 30 arrested socialist leaders were Jews. But two IKG leaders were sent abroad by the government to show the world that no anti-Semitic measures were being planned.

[1934-1937: After stock exchange collapse 1929: Economic misery for Jews in Austria]

While the political danger receded, economic misery increased. In 1935 JDC sent $ 20,000 to keep soup kitchens going for the impoverished Jewish proletariat. In 1934 a quarter of Vienna's Jews were on relief. The situation did not improve in 1936/7; in 1937, 35.5 % of the Jewish working population were unemployed.

(End note 4:
-- 14-51, report, 2/7/34 [7 February 1934];
--  8-18, report, 2/28/34 [28 February 1934], and other material in that file
-- see also R62)

[1934: Installation of Jewish IKG (Israelite cult community) council in Vienna]

After the 1934 events the IKG Council was composed of 20 Zionists (16 middle class and four socialist-Zionists) and 15 Union representatives. At the time of the Anschluss, the leader of IKG was a Zionist, Dr. Desider Friedmann, and another Zionist, Dr. Josef Löwenherz, was becoming increasingly important.

Despite the popularity of the last chancellor of independent Austria, Kurt von Schuschnigg, the Anschluss was welcomed by almost all Austrians.

[Schuschnigg was not popular and 99 % of the German Austrian population wanted the accession because it was wanted since 1871. By this the population throw flowers to the soldiers. But Austrians did not know what means a National Socialist Germany and regretted the accession bitterly already after three months when NS administration implemented a new Nazi administration with new borders of provinces etc. in Austria].