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85% of Austraia’s Population Has Anti-jewish Bias, Study Reveals

The first comprehensive sociological study ever done in Austria since the end of World War II on anti-Semitism reveals anti-Jewish bias among 85 percent of the population — strong among 25 percent, weak-to-medium among 60 percent.

The study, by Dr. Hilde Weiss of the University of Vienna, is based on two surveys, one taken in Vienna in 1976, the other in all the Austrian provinces in 1980. It revealed that the image of Israel is not connected positively or negatively with anti-Semitic feelings. But newer data has led Weiss to conclude that the war in Lebanon has strengthened anti-Semitism in Austria.

A major finding of the study is that people who know individual Jews tend to be much less anti-Semitic than those who have never met a Jew in their lives. While Weiss could find no correlation between the influence of income or job status on anti-Jewish prejudice, she conceded that envy arising out of economic deprivation and focused on the Jews might surface again if economic conditions became strained.

TRANSMISSIO OF ANTI-SEMITIC FEELINGS

Weiss’ theory is that anti-Semitic feelings constitute a kind of cultural heritage passed on by parental education, peers and to a lesser extent, teachers, and reinforced by friends, collegues and relatives later in life. The only factor that can counteract this heritage is education. Individuals who have graduated high school or coollege show considerably less anti-Semitic bias than those who attended only

The study also revealed that a certain group of mostly poorly-educated and older persons believes Jews are more intelligent, culturally productive and family-minded than non-Jews. This overestimation of Jewish qualities was regarded by Weiss as just another side of the same coin.

The Jewish community in Vienna welcomed the study, with the official monthly “Die Gemeinde” calling it “more thrilling to read than a detective story.”

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