Vienna (Oct. 6)
The Jewish Peoples’ Party, in a statement issued today on the school question, declares the government’s statement that there is no intention to affront the Jewish pupils by segregating them is not doubted but insists that the order has this effect all the same.
The statement, signed by ex-Deputy Robert Stricker, also suggests the establishment of a public Jewish school system. It follows:
“The opening of the school year of 1934-35 has raised anew the Jewish school problem. An order issued by the Ministry of Education has provided for the segregation of Jewish pupils in the Viennese schools from the Catholic pupils and their placing in separate classes together with Kofessionslose pupils.
DENIES AFFRONT INTENDED
“This measure, it says, has created the feeling in Jewish quarters that there is a segregation of Jewish pupils. In view of this feeling, the education authorities have declared officially that there is no intention of an affront to the Jewish pupils and that the measure is based on purely practical reasons.
“A further order provides for the modification of any hardships resulting on the removal of certain pupils from their previous class organizations.
“The Jewish Peoples’ Party has investigated this matter and has come to the following conclusion:
“The statement by the authorities that there is no intention of an affront to the Jewish pupils is not doubted, but it cannot change the fact that the order in its application has this effect. Practical school reasons alone, such as the difficulties in arranging for religious education in the mixed classes, cannot justify a measure which arouses in Jewish pupils the feeling that they are being segregated as an undesirable element from the general body of the school attendance.
“The Jewish Peoples’ Party therefore repudiates this method of class division. It is aware, however, that this repudiation does not solve the Jewish school problem, and that this demands a positive attitude both on the part of Jewry and on the part of the Government.
“The Austrian Government, on entering into office and subsequently, has announced that it sees one of its tasks in the transformation of the existing school system into the national religious education of the youth. The national Austrian Jewry has understanding for this plan. It recognizes the right of the Government to educate the German Christian youth in the German Christian spirit.
MUST AID JEWISH YOUTH, TOO
“But there is in the State of Austria, which has established the equality of rights of all nations and religions as a fundamental, a Jewish youth for whose education the Government has to provide according to the same principles and in the same manner as for the education of the German Christian youth.
“The mechanical external collection of Jewish pupils in separate class-rooms, where they will be educated by non-Jewish teachers in a thoroughly un – Jewish manner is to be rejected from every point of view. It is in crass contradiction to the principle of national religious education. It is equally in conflict to the law which applies in Austria for equality of rights for all nations and religions, because it does not take account of the needs of the Jewish youth in the same way as it does of the German Christian youth.
URGES SPECIAL SYSTEM
“The Jewish Peoples’ Party believes that the time has come to submit to the Government a proposal for the establishment of a public Jewish school system in Austria. Those Jewish citizens who desire that their children should be trained under Jewish direction in the national religious spirit, in loyalty to their nation and faith, and as loyal Austrians, should be given an opportunity by the creation of a Jewish school system. Such a Jewish school system will not only satisfy a just demand of the Jews who are loyal to their nation and religion, but will also contribute to clarifying the relations between the non-Jewish and Jewish citizens, shaping them on harmonious lines, and especially of removing the differences that exist in the sphere of the school system. The creation of a class of Jewish teachers necessary for the establishment of a Jewish school system is of extreme social importance, and will also benefit the abnormal Jewish occupational composition.
“All these reasons lead the Jewish Peoples’ Party to submit to the Austrian Government a motion for the establishment of a public school system.”