The new Chancellor of Ausstria, von Starhemberg, leader of the Heimwehr in a statement to the London Daily Express, defined his attitude toward the Jewish problem in Austria thus:
“Austrian Jews occupy a number of posts in the professions and services out of all proportions to their percentage of the population. We have such an influx of refugees that the late Chancellor Dollfuss was nicknamed ‘the Pontius Pilate of Austrian Judea.’ Our measures against the Jews are purely defensive. They are not aggressive. There will be no persecution and no pogrom in Austria.”
Von Starhemberg was known to be intensively anti-Semitic at the time he cooperated with the Hitlerite Nazis several years ago. In fact, it was believed then that he was even more hostile to the Jews than Hitler himself. During the past two years, von Starhemberg has altered his attitude toward the German Nazis, and has opposed them bitterly. He also modified somewhat his stand with regard to the Jewish question. He has become less rabid. He promised a short time ago and now reiterates that there will be no persecution of Jews and no pogroms in Austria. At the same time he announces that his government’s measures against the Jews will be “purely defensive” and “not aggressive.”
He is apparently preparing to remove a number of Jews in the professions now holding municipal or governmental posts. This is quite in the spirit of his former friend and co-worker, Adolf Hitler. Von Starhemberg is endeavoring to deal with the Jewish problem more “humanely,” to crush them without pogroms, in order not to arouse the indignation which the Hitler policy aroused in the civilized world.
Von Starhemberg, as Chancellor, has thus made a wrong start. Instead of treating the population of Austria upon terms of equality, he announces that with regard to the Jews he will adopt “defensive” measures. The Jews have been accorded fairer treatment under the Hapsburgs, and have done much for Austria. Literature, art, music, science, commerce in Austria have been advanced by the Jews. Schnitzler, Richard Beer Hoffman, Franz Werfel, Sigmund Freud and other universally acclaimed personalities have given world prestige to Austria. These names will be remembered in connection with Austria after Dollfuss and von Starhemberg will be forgotten. These Jews are identified with the creative and constructive attainments of Austria, while such leaders as Dollfuss and von Starhemberg will be identified with Austria’s distress and decline.
In the present chaotic conditions in Austria, brought on by Hitler’s efforts to Nazify Austria by force, as well as by the short-sighted policies of the Dollfuss regime, it is quite evident that Chancellor von Starhemberg with his brand of Fascism cannot last long. He may make numerous blunders while he is in power, and he will undoubtedly weaken still more the desperately weak position of his country, but his reign will hardly be of long duration.
A COURAGEOUS SPIRITUAL LEADER
Cardinal Faulhaber, that courageous Catholic dignitary in Germany, who has repeatedly defended the oppressed in Naziland, has now delivered a sermon in Munich in which he defended the Jews and denounced anti-Semitism. The Cardinal is reported to have declared that the recent bloody events in Germany came as God’s punishment of the Nazis for their persecution of the Jews.
“History teaches us that God always punishes the persecutors of Israel,” said Cardinal Faulhaber. “The Nazis who were killed, received their merited punishment. Hate and persecution cannot destroy the Jewish people.”
He then discussed the injustice of anti-Semitism.
Like Cardinal Mercier in Belgium during the World War, who displayed extraordinary courage, Cardinal Faulhaber in Germany today is a towering moral force against the Nazi rulers who are committing the most shocking crimes against liberty, justice and peace. He deserves universal praise and gratitude.
The Gazeta Polska, of Warsaw, analyzing the results of the municipal elections and the decline of the National Democrats, the anti-Semitic political party, writes:
“It is essential that the average citizen of Poland understand that an anti-Semitic ‘program’ as a panacea for all political and economic ills is an absurdity. It is essential that he realize, irrespective of ‘race’ sympathies or antipathies, that it is contrary to Polish reasons of State to base the internal policy of the nation upon a civil guerilla warfare of the majority with a minority comprising several million people settled here for centuries. Finally it is essential that everyone grasp the fact that the only standard by which the rights of citizenship may be measured cannot be national origin, or religion, or sex, but solely and exclusively the attitude of the Polish citizen to the Stateâ€”his acts and not the color of his hair.”
It is heartening to read this in one of the leading and important Polish journals. The salvation and development and prosperity of Poland depend upon internal harmony and mutual confidence among the various elements that constitute the population of Poland. Political, racial, religious or economic discrimination, the division of the citizens into different categories, inevitably lead to disintegration and ruin.