Halsmann Defense Warned Schober of Conviction Due to Innsbruck Hostility

The defense in the case of Philip Halsmann, whose sentence to four years’ imprisonment on the charge of patricide has aroused public opinion in the country, repeatedly made representations to the Minister of Justice and to Prime Minister Johann Schober warning them that if the re-trial was held in Innsbruck, Halsmann would again be convicted because of the hostile atmosphere there. This was revealed by Attorney Pressburger, who was Philip Halsmann’s counsel at the first trial, resigning in favor of Dr. Mahler because he feared the fact that he was a Jew might arouse further prejudice against Halsmann.

In an interview published in the “Wiener Neue Frei Presse.” Attorney Pressberger declares: “We told the Minister,” he says, “that the Halsmann affair would not rest, just as the Dreyfus affair would not rest, until justice was done. The verdict is a travesty of justice. The Minister of Justice,” he declares, “told us that he agreed, and promised us his goodwill, but secret forces were at work against us behind the scenes. But the matter will not be allowed to rest until an unbiased tribunal has given its decision whether Halsmann is guilty or innocent.”

Press correspondents attending the trial, who have returned from Innsbruck, give vivid descriptions of the anti-Semitic atmosphere there. Pater Wimmer, the most popular clergyman in Innsbruck, they say, preaching in his church, declared that he was convinced of Halsmann’s guilt. A member of the jury went about boasting that he would do the Jew in, and there are signed affidavits made by Christian witnesses to this effect. It is also stated that the foreman of the jury constantly asked his acquaintances outside the court what they thought about the Halsmann case.

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