Austrian President Replies to Wasserman Letter Asking Justice for Halsmann

Public opinion is marshalling to the demand for justice in the case of Philip Halsmann, sentenced to four years imprisonment on the charge of patricide. Following the appeal to the President Miklas published in the Austrian press today by Jacob Wasserman, noted writer, an anonymous donor contributed 10,000 schilling ($1,400) to start a fund to seek the truth and justice in the case. The fund is being sponsored by the “Neue Freie Presse.”

The feeling prevalent in Jewish circles is now spreading to the entire population that the sentence against the Jewish young man was influenced by religious prejudice. Innsbruck, where the trial was held as well as the appeal, although change of venue had been asked, is known as a seat of anti-Jewish prejudice.

A statement by the President of Austria on the Halsmann case was made today following the open letter directed to him by Jacob Wasserman. “I have my own definite opinion with regard to Halsmann,” the Austrian president said, “but the position of president of Austria enforces upon me silence. Besides, it is impossible for me to express myself regarding the extending of clemency to him because this depends on the proposal being made by the Government. It is also impossible because the case is not yet closed. A third trial may take place and the law prohibits anyone intervening in a pending court process. It would hardly be right for the president to interfere, although his opinion on the case might be definite.”

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