Budapest (Dec. 14)
General Franz Schill, former Commandant of the Hungarian Gendarmerie, and a close friend and associate of the Minister of War, M. Julius Goemboes, the leader of the Hungarian antisemitic movement, has committed suicide by strangling himself with his towel in the military prison in Budapest, where he was confined together with a large number of other persons arrested at the end of November, when the authorities discovered a plot in which they were concerned to overthrow the Government by armed force and establish a terrorist dictatorship on Hitlerist lines, whose programme included the starving out of the Jews by a plan similar to that revealed in the Boxheim documents seized in the Hitlerist headquarters in Hesse, the shooting of all wealthy Jews unless they gave up their money, and the blowing up of synagogues.
Strong suspicion exists in Democratic circles that the War Minister, M. Goemboes, and his group of followers in the Government Party were implicated in the plot, and General Schill’s suicide is seen as strengthening the suspicion, the motive imputed to his act being that he saw the investigation leading up to the detection of the part played behind the scenes by his friend, and took his life so that he should not be forced to give evidence which would reveal his guilt.
There is another sensation caused by the revelation that Matuschka, the Hungarian quarry-owner who lived in Vienna and was arrested recently on the charge of blowing up the Ostende-Budapest Express train last Rosh Hashanah, which the antisemites, both in Hungary and abroad, notably the German Hitlerists, exploited for their anti-Jewish agitation, alleging that the train had been wrecked by Jews, who had chosen Rosh Hashanah because no Jews would be travelling that day, was in close contact with the leaders of the putsch plot, and that one of them, Franz Toth, who is under arrest, had received large quantities of high explosives from Matuschka.
The new theory is that Matuschka had no intention of wrecking the train, but that a quantity of high explosives which he had obtained in his capacity as a quarry-owner, ostensibly for blasting purposes, and was bringing to Budapest to be added to the armoury of the conspirators, exploded accidentally.
Matuschka’s attitude of simulating insanity, which has puzzled the authorities, it is suggested, was an expedient to throw the authorities off the scent, preferring to play the madman and to let it be thought that he was a train-wrecker, rather than tell the truth that it was an accident and thus betray the plot.
It is recalled in Jewish quarters in connection with that part of the plot relating to the blowing up of synagogues that letters had been received by many Jews shortly before Rosh Hashanah threatening to blow up the Great Synagogue in Budapest on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
The anti-Jewish agitation at the time of the wreck of the Budapest express was so violent in its allegation that it was the work of Jews, that the Government was compelled to proclaim martial law, as the only way of preventing anti-Jewish outbreaks.