Austrian Officials Complain British Army Paper Fostering Anti-semitism
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Austrian Officials Complain British Army Paper Fostering Anti-semitism

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Complaints that the policy of the official organ of the British occupation forces in Austria in reporting news developments concerning Jews is strengthening anti-Semitic sentiment in this country were made to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent today by Austrian government officials.

The newspaper is the Weltpresse, an afternoon daily with — estimated circulation of 150,000 copies. The paper, which is published by the British World News Service, is largely read by former Nazi elements who use its headlines and contents to stir up anti-Jewish feelings. Because of its official character, the paper is not subject to Austrian censorship control.

The Austrian officials complain that the paper pays marked attention to news of incidents in DP camps in which Jewish refugees clash with the authorities and gives special prominence to news dispatches from Palestine reporting Jewish “terrorist” activity. The text of the reports published is usually fairly objective, a study of the paper shows, but the selection of news items and the headlines and captions written over them seem aimed to create bad feeling against the Jews.

(Berlin reports to the Manchester Guardian recently told of a similar policy being followed by the British-licensed Berlin newspaper Telegraph. The paper’s correspondent commented that “it seems a sad commentary on the state of the world that such a phrase as ‘Jewish terror’ should be allowed to reappear in the German press.”)

Vienna Jewish leaders point out that the Weltpresse studiously ignores such aspects of the Jewish problem as restitution of the rights and property of Jewish survivors and the position of the Jews in liberated Austria. The paper also seeks to deter Jews in Austria from emigrating to Palestine. A poll taken among Viennese Jews some months ago indicated that 60 percent wanted to emigrate to Palestine.

The attitude of the Weltpresse is described as in marked contrast to the only American-controlled daily, the Wiener Kurier, which has a circulation of 250,000. This paper frequently discusses Jewish problems and statements by Jewish leaders on issues such as the rehabilitation of the Jews of Austria and reparations for the damages they suffered under the Nazi regime.

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