The death of Monsignore Seipel, leader of the Christian Socialist Party and former Austrian Premier, serves as the occasion here to recall his attitude toward the Jews.
Although the leader of a professedly anti-Semitic Party, Monsignore Seipel maintained good relations with the Jewish population, and when he was in office as Premier, declared that he regarded himself there as the representative of all citizens irrespective of their religion or race. He also expressed himself several times very sympathetically towards the orthodox Jews organized in the Agudath Israel, especially in regard to the question of Shechita, and when an Agudist delegation visited him on one occasion, headed by the President, Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Kohn, to express anxiety about the anti-Shechita agitation in the country, he assured them that he would never allow the prohibition of what was a religious commandment binding upon observant Jews.
He was well acquainted with the situation in Palestine, and declared his sympathy on several occasions for Zionism. When the Revisionist World Conference was held in Vienna in 1928, he was Prime Minister, and received on that occasion Vladimir Jabotinsky, and in his conversation, showed wide acquaintance with Zionist problems.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in New York during his American visit, he said:
We are sympathetic towards the Zionist movement and its attempt to restore the Jewish state in Palestine. We hope that as the Zionists succeed and, as soon as a Jewish state will actually come into being, the Jewish question will find that solution and clarification which is in the interest of everybody. This does not mean that we should like all Jews to go to Palestine, but, just as many Germans and Austrians live in the United States and other countries as citizens of those countries, so will the Jews, after the Jewish State is established in Palestine be able to live as citizens of other states.
When Dr. Seipel was Premier in 1927 his Party, the Christian Socialists, published a statement outlining their program for the new year, declaring that the Christian Socialist Party “fights against the domination of the destructive Jewish influence in spiritual and economic life in Austria”.
When approached by the J.T.A representative in Vienna on this subject, Dr. Seipel said: It would be surprising if the Jews of the world were really alarmed because of the issue of this