Austrian Chancellor Seeks to Allay Jewish Fears of Anti-semitism in New Government
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Austrian Chancellor Seeks to Allay Jewish Fears of Anti-semitism in New Government

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In an endeavor to quiet the anxiety of the Jewish populace over the new cabinet, Chancellor Karl Vaugoin has issued a statement intended to allay any fears prevalent among the Jews because of the possible anti-Semitic influence that the Heimwehr, Austria’s private nationalist militia, might have over the new government because two of the Heimwehr’s outstanding leaders are members of the cabinet.

Chancellor Vaugoin said that his program is “for the Fatherland and against the Marxists. I respect and welcome all, who out of religious or patriotic love, will join in the fight to maintain the old culture of our people. Hence I am organizing a common election platform which would ensure for Austria and every Austrian devoted to his country the respect of all fellow-citizens. Those, however, who betray Austria in her present hour of need will meet their fate without regard to their religion”.

This statement was in reply to the Liberal Wiener Journal which had inquired of Chancellor Vaugoin whether he agreed with the attitude of that paper, namely that patriotic Jews are on a par with other patriots and must be protected against persecutions and insults. Dr. Vaugoin’s reply clearly indicates that the government will recognize only those citizens who will join the fight against Marxism.

Prince Ernest von Starhemberg, Heimwehr leader and minister of interior in the Vaugoin government, on taking over his new duties, informed his subordinates that it is his duty “to represent the principles of the Heimwehr in my new working sphere.” This statement makes the future situation of the Jews even more indefinite as Prince Starhemberg avoided any reference to his stand on the Jewish question as minister of interior. He had previously been known as an anti-Semite and a close friend of Adolf Hitler, leader of the German Fascists.

It is impossible as yet to say with any certainty whether the Christian-Socialists or the Heimwehr will be the more influential group in the new government. The true character of the present cabinet and its possible anti-Semitic leanings will probably be revealed in the course of the forthcoming election campaign. In addition to Prince Starhemberg, the new minister of justice, Franz Huebers, is also known as an active anti-Semite. He is said to have rid his native town, Mattsee, a Summer resort, of all Jews.

While the entire Liberal press is now opposed to the new government, the Warheit, organ of the Austrian Jewish Union, today expressed the fear that the Jewish question will form the chief issue in the coming elections. The paper bases this fear on a speech of Prince Starhemberg last Summer in which he was reported to have said, “I will have great pleasure in giving the order for shooting the flatfooted Jews who stand prominent in the ranks of the opposition.”

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