VIENNA (Feb. 18)
Assurances that the Austrian Government plans “absolutely no change” in its policy towards the Jews as a result of the Berchtesgaden agreement were made today in a statement handed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by a source closely connected with Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg.
“Absolutely no change in the policy of the Austrian Government toward the Jews is to be expected in connection with the Berchtesgaden meeting,” the statement declares. “The Austrian Government adheres steadfastly to the principle of equality of rights. Although temptations to act otherwise exist, the Austrian Government rejects on social and religious grounds any discrimination against Austrian Jewry.”
The fall of the Goga Government in Rumania is expected to exercise a retarding effect on any proposed anti-Jewish measures in Austria, the statement asserts, since it is clear that the Great Powers had sufficient experience in the events of 1933 not to remain indifferent when fundamental human rights are violated.
“On the whole, Chancellor Schuschnigg is the most important guarantor for full equality and the rights laid down in the Constitution,” the statement concludes.
The statement was quoted by Jewish leaders here, addressing crowded meetings to lessen tension among the Jewish population of some 200,000.
Strengthening of anti-Jewish policy in the economic field, however, is evident in today’s appointment of Vienna’s Vice-Mayor Josef Kresse to the responsible position of president of the Federal Union of Traders and Artisans, replacing J.R. Raab, the new Economics Minister. Kresse, who automatically also becomes president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, is notorious for the anti-Semitic propaganda he conducted under the slogan, “Christians Buy Only From Christians.”
Further intensification of anti-Semitic propaganda is expected with extension of the amnesty to Nazi students expelled from universities. The students, who will be readmitted to the Summer term, are expected to renew agitation for a numerus clausus in the universities and professions.
Anti-Semites here are already pointing to Italy’s recent statement on the Jewish question as indicating that Italy has officially adopted a numerus clausus for Jews.
A statement of program issued by the Ministry of Interior, now under direction of pro-Nazi Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart, declares the authorities must observe strict legality, objectivity and humanity. “No one in Austria,” the statement declares, “is more interested in the most careful observation of national interests than the Minister of the Interior.”