21 More Jews Commit Suicide in Austria; Arrests Mount; Border Control Tightend
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21 More Jews Commit Suicide in Austria; Arrests Mount; Border Control Tightend

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Twenty-one new Jewish suicides were added over the weekend to the mounting toll of self-destruction in the wake of Anschluss with Germany.

Despite the fact that outwardly Vienna seemed calmer, secret arrests continued unchecked and the Jewish quarters remained in a high state of tension. Among those arrested were the famous Jewish Socialist lawyers, Heinrich Steinitz, Ignaz Gruder and Oswald Richter, who figured in the Socialist trials following the 1934 revolution. It was reported without confirmation that Josef Loewenherz, executive director of the Jewish Community, was also seized by the secret police.

Others reported arrested include von Friedmann, president of the Jewish War Veterans’ Association; Dr. Teller, president of the Jewish Cultural League; Dr. Sternschuss, Dr. Offa and Dr. Schall, attorneys, and a number of Jewish bankers held to have supported the Heimwehr movement.

Dr. Teller’s arrest was believed due to the fact he could not produce overnight 5,000 schillings owed by the Jewish Culture League to the Austrian league. Payment was impossible because Jewish banks are unable to permit large withdrawals without special consent of a Nazi Board, which apparently refused in this instance.


(Newspapers in Paris reported that 60 Jews committed suicide Saturday night, making a total of 1,700 for the week, most of them professionals, merchants and scientists.)Dr. Gotteried Kunwald, former legal adviser of the Bank for International Settlements and financial adviser of ex-Chancellor Ignaz Seipel, was reported to have taken his life. It was pointed out, however, that Dr. Kunwald had been a helpless paralytic for years, and belief was expressed that he had been shot.

An unconfirmed report asserted that Dr. Kurt Sonnenfeld, noted Jewish Journalist of the Neue Freie Presse, had shot his father and his bride of a fortnight and then taken his own life.

Dr. Joseph Buerckel, Nazi Commissar for Austrian Interior Affairs, in conjunction with the newly-established Vienna Secret State Police, have taken definite steps to halt pillaging and sacking of Jewish shops. They ordered today that all confiscated merchandise be delivered to a designated police station with a description of the goods and reason for confiscation. A second station was designated for delivery of confiscated automobiles.

Saturday morning, the Jewish quarters were alarmed by a small company of German police who swung through the streets singing the storm troopers’ “Comrades” song, with the chorus which goes: “Hang the Jews, Put the Jews to the Wall!” Such acts, even when not accompanied by menacing gestures, appeared calculated to keep the Jewish populace in a state of terror.

For the first time since its erection in 1825, Vienna’s chief synagogue, the Seiten-stettengasse Synagogue, failed to hold its Sabbath services. Green-clad German troops stood guard at the temple’s portals, turning away worshippers.

Yesterday morning, Jewish lawyers were barred from all the criminal courts, although they continued to practice in the civil courts. Though no law affecting status of lawyers has been yet published, Jewish attorneys found that arraignment judges refused to give them required information. A few protested, but were told in a ruling by the presiding judge that the arraignment judges were not obliged to receive Jewish lawyers if they did not desire to.


Elimination of Jewish doctors was foreshadowed by an announcement that the Reich Medical Leader will soon issue new regulations affecting the medical profession. All Jewish teachers of elementary schools have been ordered to go on leave immediately.

Stricter border regulations were issued today requiring special exit visas to cross the frontier. These permits are now categorically denied to Jews, except for permanent emigration or business trips favorable to national economy.

The important question as to the fate of Jewish soldiers in the Austrian Army has already been solved by at least one regiment. When the Twenty-first Infantry was called to take the oath to Chancellor Hitler, three Jewish soldiers and officers refused. There-upon all Jewish soldiers and officers in the regiment were sent home. This policy, it was indicated, will be followed throughout the army.

The Vienna edition of the Voelkischer Beobachter, chief German Nazi organ, declared in an editorial that Baron Louis Rothschild, one of the first wealthy Jews arrested following Anschluss, would be held until he made good the losses of the Credit Anstalt when he was president. The paper asserted that the estates Baron Louis voluntarily handed over to the Austrian Government were worthless since they could not be rented.

Meanwhile, business of Jewish shops, particularly in the Jewish quarters, was completely at a standstill. Indications are that official Nazi groups are seeking control of even the smallest Jewish enterprise. One Jewish merchant has been compelled to notify creditors that he could not pay bills until they were approved by the Nazi Commissar for Austria, Joseph Buerckel.

To some extent the Nazi officials have learned to keep extremists under control. At no time in the past week has there been open violence openly inflicted. One could have ridden for blocks without recognizing the tremendous anti-Semitic upheaval which was taking place, except for “Aryan” signs displayed in shop windows. This may be explained partly by the fact that Jews are an insignificant minority in many sections of the city, but also because searching of shops and arrests, and, if reports are to be trusted, shootings, occurred for the most part under cover of night and were done by disciplined groups who knew how to keep quiet.

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