Austria Sets Up Check on Foreigners; Purge of Books Launched

Austria’s Nazi regime today set up a close watch on foreigners, including many Americans, while Storm Troopers began to purge bookshops of works by Jewish authors.

All foreigners who have been in Austria more than three days must obtain special exit visas from the police to leave the country, according to a new decree. Its purpose is to keep a check of aliens, many of whom are Jews seeking to return to their homes.

Brown Shirts accompanied by police began the purge of literature. They visited bookshops and confiscated all works of Jewish writers, including books by Sholem Asch, Vicki Baum, Stefan Zweig, Arnold Zweig, Franz Werfel, Max Brod, Lion Feuchtwanger, Jacob Wasserman and Felix Salten.

All Vienna lawyers today received a questionnaire from the Nazi commissar for the Society of Austrian Lawyers, Dr. Georg von Ettingshausen, asking, among other questions, their religion, the religion of their parents, whether their wives are of “German blood,” whether there are doubts as to the purity of the wives’ “German blood” and a question on war service.

EDUCATION MINISTER’S DECREE

The decree issued by Education Minister Oswald Menghin (reported briefly in yesterday’s JTA NEWS) aims to purge universities and higher technical schools of Jewish faculty members and also of “politically undesirable” instructors. Its principal provisions are as follows:

(1) All Jewish members of the faculties are summarily dismissed. (2) Jewish students registering for the first time for the Summer session are summarily dropped from the rolls. Registration of all Jews may be revoked at any time. (3) A numerous clauses for Jews will be introduced some time in the future. (4) Special provision will be made for foreign students.

Discharge of Jewish faculty members affects only about 35 or 40. This is explained by the fact that Jews were consistently weeded out of the educational system by ex-Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg’s regime.

Meanwhile, Adolf Boehm, industrialist and Zionist leader, was entrusted with the task of rebuilding the shattered Vienna Jewish Community. His appointment as president of the Community, succeeding Dr. Desider Friedmann, who is under arrest, was revealed after a meeting of Zionist leaders with officials of the Nazi Ministry of Culture.

It was also revealed that Dr. Siegfried Kantor, international legal authority and former president of the Vienna Lawyers’ Chamber, together with Dr. Oskar Gruenbaum, will head the Austrian Zionist Organization. The Jewish Community offices and other Jewish institutions, except hospitals, homes for the aged and soup kitchens, are still officially closed.

Nazi commissars were ordered by Dr. Joseph Buerckel, Nazi commissioner for Austria, to render an accounting of their position. Dr. Buerckel declared that henceforth he would retain exclusive power to appoint commissars to run commercial establishments, and would name them under the following conditions:

(1) If the owner of the establishment is a fugitive, under arrest or otherwise unable to conduct his business; (2) If danger exists that the owner will remove funds or merchandise; (3) If other important conditions make appointment of a commissar necessary.

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