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Austrian Jews Feel Nazi Menace Closer

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The Jews of Austria are greatly disturbed over the threatened approach of a Nazi regime here. There is no doubt that the Nazi movement here, emboldened by the success of the parent party in Germany, is growing by leaps and bounds and already constitutes as much of a menace here as the Hitler regime in Germany itself was only two years ago, or even less. The drawn and haggard faces of the Jews one meets, especially in Vienna, proclaims the fears of the Jewish community in Austria more eloquently than anything else could.

Austria is ruled today by a would-be dictatorship, but the government knows very well that it is only make-believe. Every election that takes place nowadays, in village and in town, is a triumph for the Nazis. The spell of Germany is becoming rapidly more powerful. Everybody knows that the government and the Heimwehr combined, are now only a small minority of the Austrian nation. The government is trying hard to whip up some public sentiment in its own behalf.

In spite of prohibitions, crowds of Hitlerites suddenly appear in the busiest shopping streets, thousands and tens of thousands of them and traffic is held up completely. This is called “going for a walk.” Surely no government can stop peaceful citizens from going for a walk through the streets of their own city. There appear long lines of automobiles and motor-cycles, with occupants shouting and singing anti-Semitic songs, and slogans, whole districts are flooded with anti-Semitic pamphlets,

There are many Hitlerites among the police and they make no secret of it. The President of the police, Brandl, resigned recently over some trouble with the government and immediately went over to the Nazis. He has become the idol of the Austrian Fascists. Four other high police officials in Vienna joined the Nazi Party with him. New Nazi papers keep on appearing and they are snatched up by eager purchasers.

Already the economic ruin of Austrian Jewry is being encompassed. Even if it was possible to do business, the incessant street demonstrations make it impossible. The surge of the shouting crowds outside the doors of the Jewish shops, menacing faces and fists keep likely customers away. No one can do any business with a howling mob outside; Jewish store-keepers are compelled to put up their shutters.

“AGGRESSIVENESS” DEMANDED

At present it seems certain that the Nazis will sweep the country. The Christian Socialist Party is losing most of its electorate, who are deserting to the Swastika. Even the old militant anti-Semitism of the Christian Socialists is regarded as insufficient in Austria. They are accused of resting on their oars and Hitlerite aggressiveness is demanded.

The Left Parties, are breaking up. The once powerful Social Democratic Party is a corpse, and the Swastika army is making rapid strides at the expense of all other parties.

As a last resort, the Christian Socialists are trying to induce the Nazis to join them in a Coalition government. Negotiations have been going on for some time in Vienna and Berlin. They are willing to include the Nazis in the government, immediately, without holding elections first, notwithstanding the insignificant Nazi representation in the present parliament, and have the new government arrange the elections. But the Nazis are scornful of the offer and demand immediate elections, confident of a sweeping victory.

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