VIENNA (Mar. 31)
Fears that the financial difficulties of the Phoenix Life Insurance Society would be used for anti-Jewish purposes were justified today when it was learned that Burgomaster Schmitz, in addressing the Catholic Association last night, made a bitter anti-Semitic speech in which he used the Phoenix affair as a springboard.
The insurance firm, largest in Austria, was headed by Dr. Wilhelm Berliner, a Jew, as chairman of the board. Dr. Berliner died more than a month ago and was succeeded in his post by an “Aryan.” When irregularities in the conduct of the concern were made public last week by the Government, it was feared in Jewish circles that anti-Semitic forces would try to capitalize on them in view of the current anti-Jewish feeling in Austria.
Concern over the Burgomaster’s speech centered around its official character, since Schmitz holds office by appointment of the Government.