Austrian Finance Minister’s Resignation Said to Be Due to His Jewish Origin: Found His Position in G
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Austrian Finance Minister’s Resignation Said to Be Due to His Jewish Origin: Found His Position in G

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Dr. Joseph Redlich, the Minister of Finance, has tendered his resignation, and it is stated that to a large extent his action has been prompted by the difficulties which he encountered on account of his Jewish birth, although he has been baptised for many years.

Ever since he came from Harvard University, where he held a professorship, to take over the Ministry of Finance on the invitation of the Prime Minister, he has been exposed to slights and insults, even from some of his colleagues in the Cabinet. The antisemitic press has been incessantly conducting a campaign against him, demanding that “the Jew should be thrown out of the Cabinet”. The Government took no action to show its disapproval of the campaign, and under the circumstances Dr. Redlich came to feel that his position was untenable, and resigned. He has told the Premier that he found his position difficult. He will probably go back to Harvard.

Dr. Redlich, who is 62 years of age, was born in Moravia, and under the monarchy he was one of the Deputies from Moravia in the Imperial Parliament. He left the Jewish faith in 1903, and three years later he was appointed to a professorship at Vienna University.

He was Minister of Finance once before, in 1918, when he held the post in the last Austrian Imperial Cabinet, before the establishment of the Republic.

Dr. Redlich is an authority on the development of Parliamentary institutions and on the administrative systems in England and Austria. He is also an authority on the economic, social and political history of Austria before the Revolution. He has published a number of books, among them the “Procedure of the House of Commons”, “The Austrian Government in the Great War”, “The Austrian State and Imperial Problem”, “British Local Administration”, “The Methods of English Parliamentarianism” and “Common Law and the Case Method in American University Law Schools”.

Although he left the Jewish faith 28 years ago, Professor Redlich has retained his interest and sympathy in Jewish life and aspirations. He was a personal friend of Dr. Theodor Herzl, and when the project of a Herzl monument in Vienna was mooted two years ago he was one of the signatories to the appeal. About the same time he wrote an article on Herzl, in which he recalled that he first met Herzl while he (Professor Redlich) was still at school. The Redlich family was on friendly terms with the Naschauer family, and Herzl married Julie Naschauer about two years later. I remember, he wrote, what a great impression he made on me, when he told me that he had come to see that his task in life was to devote all his strength and ability solely and entirely to the liberation and elevation of Jewry, to liberate the Jews from the shameful and degrading position into which they had fallen by placing their trust in the great principles of the French Revolution and of European liberalism, as a result of the action of the assimilationists in the Jewish religious community founding Jewish policy on these principles. Such liberation was in his opinion possible only, he held, if the Jewish intellectuals would turn to the Jewish masses and to their religious and cultural traditions, which they had loyallty safeguarded, and if Jewry would adopt as its basis of life the national principle, like all other races and peoples.

That, he added, can be only if Jewry again succeeds in obtaining its own national soil and in building up a real Jewish people, on an equality with all other peoples on the earth, with a national culture bound up with its ancient religion, history and language. The impression made on me by Herzl’s views was extremely powerful, and I was deeply moved, Dr. Redlich added, although the solution which he expounded to us with almost prophetic fervour was in definite contradiction in essential points to my own views. But that did not hinder me from realising the greatness of Herzl, and the further development of his life, which he gave up entirely to the Zionist idea, increased my realisation of his spiritual and moral greatness.

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