VIENNA (Apr. 17)
The Reich “flight tax” of twenty-five per cent of the fortunes of emigrants was extended to Austria today and made retroactive to Jan. I. The tax therefore will be collected from several hundred who emigrated since Anschluss and left part of their property behind.
The net sum which an emigrant may withdraw has not yet been fixed. Except under special conditions, persons now emigrating from the old Reich must leave ninety per cent of their fortunes behind. one-quarter is taken as flight tax and sixty-five per cent represents the loss sustained through being obliged to take the balance in the form of Sperrmarks, which are currently worth only twelve per cent of the Reichsmark.
Meanwhile, the whole emigration question, at least as far as it affects the great mass of the Austrian Jews, waits in abeyance pending the arrival of Jewish organization leaders from Berlin. A delegation was expected last week, but apparently was unable to secure permission for the journey. Some quarters here believe the necessary permission will be forthcoming this week.
Jewish manufacturers and merchants whose enterprises have been placed under the management of Nazi commissars have been ordered to increase the salaries of these commissars, in some cases as much as 100 per cent. The order, sent out to all owners of enterprises now under commissars, by the office of Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart, provincial Governor, will serve to hasten the process of “Aryanization” of Jewish enterprises.
MANY FORCED TO CLEAN STREETS ON PASSOVER
Jews were torn from Passover dinners Friday night by Nazi storm troopers and party officials and forced to spend an hour or more washing streets and buildings. At least two dozen Jews were round up in the fifth district alone.
The conscriptions began at four o’clock Friday afternoon and continued until late that evening. Impressment squads usually comprised a brown-shirted trooper accompanied by civilians wearing swastika armlets. They rejected pleas for postponement until at least religious services were celebrated.
The Jews were forced to wash board fences at the Neumarket and to scrub floors and walls in a school on Schoenbrunner Street. Some of those working in the Neumarket were forced to carry pails of water from the school, more than half a mile away.
A small number were conscripted around eight p.m. and taken to Matzleindorferplatz, but were released without being forced to work. They were warned, however, to remain home in readiness for a call.
Although most of Vienna’s synagogues were crowded Friday night for the opening Passover services, there were several vacant pews in the chief synagogue on Seitenstettingasse, owing to the short notice of reopening after being closed since the middle of March. Hitler Black Guards roamed in adjacent corridors during the services but did not interfere with the worshippers.
Services were shortened for the occasion and were interrupted once by Chief Rabbi Taglicht, who slowly and movingly read a proclamation calling for courage and a generous response to the Jewish Community’s appeal for 550,000 Reichsmarks in order to reopen its offices. The same proclamation was read by the rabbis of all Austrian synagogues. After, the services, congregations filed out quickly. Many of the women were weeping when they descended from gallery to foyer.
It was reported that 100,000 Reichsmarks had been collected in the first day of the appeal for the Jewish Community. While the sum is large, it was pointed out that a small nucleus of the wealthier members of the community had been expected to answer first and that henceforth the collections likely would be slower.
Meanwhile, 11,000 Jews were given free Passover meals consisting of three pieces of matzos, a plate of kneidlach (matzo ball) soup and three vegetables. Similar meals were served yesterday, with the addition of a piece of cake.
TEXT OF PROCLAMATION
The proclamation read by all rabbis Friday evening was as follows:
“The rabbinate considers it to be a holy duty this day to say a comforting word to all our brethren. The holiday we begin today has for a thousand years filled us with hope and courage. This time, too, the holiday should bring calm strength and hope for the future for hearts weighed down with sorrow.
“We want to fulfill loyally and worthily our tasks as men and Jews. We seek to accomplish these things not only for our own consciences, but for the community to which we belong. Recently our community leadership addressed to a great part of Austrian Jewry a plea for contribution of a sum of money to be used for the community as a whole. We know that under existing conditions raising this indispensable sum entails extraordinary sacrifice, but it must be done.
“Let the community, focal point of our Jewry, be enabled to continue its functions, to accomplish a difficult task. Who makes a sacrifice for the community pleases God. There lives for us the God of pity and he will not forsake us. Amen.”
B’NAI B’RITH LEADER DIES IN PRISON HOSPITAL
Dr. Arnold Ascher, president of one of four Austrian B’nai B’rith lodges, has died in a prison hospital. Together with other leaders of the B’nai B’rith, he had been imprisoned since shortly after Anschluss. Prof. Edmund Jerusalem, another B’nai B’rith leader, who was recently released from prison, is now reported in a hospital for treatment of a minor ailment.
Prof. Wilhelm Knoepfelmacher, noted psychiatrist, died yesterday of a stroke, shortly after his discharge from a hospital where he had been treated after an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide by poison last week. Prof. Knoepfelmacher was formerly head of the children’s clinic at Vienna University.
G. Schoffman, prominent Hebrew novelist, has been imprisoned in Graz for some time, it was reported.