A Week’s Events in Review
Menu JTA Search

A Week’s Events in Review

Download PDF for this date

The Austrian Fascist constitution was inaugurated this week by the opening of a State Council whose fifty-four members are all nominated instead of being elected.

This puts an end to the democratic constitution of Austria. This also puts an end to practically all privileges which Jewish citizens of Austria have enjoyed as equals under constitutional rights.

There is only one Jew among the fifty-four members of the State Council. This is Dr. Desider Friedmann, head of the Jewish religious community. It is needless to say that his influence in the Council will amount to nothing. Under these circumstances it would seem to have been wiser for Dr. Friedmann not to have accepted any councilor-ship at all in this body, since it replaces the Australian Parliament, which provided a legislation where no differences between Jews and non-Jews were made.


Parallel with the opening of the State Council, the recently promulgated new Industrial Law entered into force in Austria this week. This law falls into the class of laws whose text has no bearing on Jews but which acquire, as a result of attendant circumstances, a character that is primarily directed against Jews.

The new Industrial Law denotes for Austrian Jewry right now a specific aggravation of its econonomic distress. As for the future, it denotes the destruction of an immense number of opportunities for Jews to earn their livelihood.

The road to a large number of occupations is barred to the Jews by the new Industrial Law. Similarly the new Industrial Law hands over entirely to the Corporative Councils the decision on whether anyone in Austria may start, expand or convert a business firm or workshop.

The way in which these all-powerful bodies have been constituted, indicates what will happen. The Economic Council, which is the supreme corporative body, with its sections for trade, credit and insurance, does not contain a single Jew, Similarly, the institutions subordinate to the Economic Council are not expected to appoint Jews to their leadership. These institutions will have no Jews or practically no Jews.


The new Industrial Law, which went into effect on December 1, will therefore ruin the entire Jewish industry and commerce and will make it impossible for young Jews to find any work. This new law provides that none can be employed without obtaining a certificate which shows that the applicant has been trained for a period of years as an apprentice in trading or in industry. Needless to say, no young Jew will be in a position to acquire such a certificate at a time when most enterprises in Austria will not employ any Jew as apprentice.

The economic situation of the Jews in Austria, bad as it is, is thus expected to become worse. A Jewish delegation therefore left for Paris this week to approach the Joint Distribution Committee offices there for relief and assistance. The delegation carried along a plan as to how constructive relief can be organized by the J.D.C. for the Jews of Austria in the most speedy and practical way.


In addition to the economic abuses, Austrian Jewry also underwent physical abuses this week. “Perish Judea” was the slogan under which thousands of Austrian students displayed in the streets of Vienna. The youths protested against Czechoslovakia and at the same time smashed windows of Jewish firms and attacked Jewish newspapers. This demonstration was a repercussion of the fight which took place this week between German and Czech students in Praha, capital of Czechoslovakia.

Despite the fact that the Jews had nothing to do with the issue which caused the fight between the Czechs and the Germans the clash between the two culminated in anti-Jewish attacks also in Praha. Czech nationalist students, fighting their German colleagues, utilized the clash as an excuse for smashing windows of Jewish houses, for looting Jewish stores and for attacking the Beth Haam in Praha, where the Zionist offices are located. The Czech students also made attempts to invade synagogues in Praha but were dispersed by police.

Upon the intervention of Jewish leaders in Praha, the Czech government took immediate measures to protect Jewish lives and property. The measures taken were strong and effective. As a result over 100 Czech students are now in prison awaiting trial.


The Jewish problem in Germany came to the forefront this week during a debate in the House of Commons. Leading British statesmen such as Sir John Simon, David Lloyd George and other declared from the platform of the British Parliament that Germany must make peace not only with her immediate neighbors but also with the Jews. Lloyd George was especially emphatic on this point. An advocate of international equality for Germany, he stated that the Hitler government makes it difficult even for its best friends to advocate equality for the German nation, since the Nazis have renounced equal rights for German Jews.

Direct reference to the Jewish question, made by Lloyd George and the others, came as a climax to the debate on Germany’s military forces and aimed to indicate that the British government is watching the situation of the Jews in Germany very closely. It is understood that the American government is also keenly watching the Jewish situation in Germany and that the American embassy in Berlin is instructed to submit from time to time reports on anti-Jewish discriminations in the Reich.


Interested in protecting the Jews in Germany, the British government does not, however, show the same interest in matters concerning Palestine. A report this week from Jerusalem discloses that the British administration in Palestine intends to introduce restrictions for Jewish capitalist immigrants. Hitherto every Jew possessing 5,000 when entering Palestine found no difficulty in obtaining a Palestine visa. Now the Palestine government intends to curb the entrance of even such Jews as possess a capital of not less than $5,000. This despite the fact that during the month of October not less than $5,000,000 was brought into Palestine under the capitalist category. This also despite the fact that the Palestine government has now a surplus which in August reached not less than $20,000,000 and which is all due to the capital which Jews are importing into the country.


While the British administration is seeking ways and means of restricting Jewish immigration, the French administration in Syria this week made a {SPAN}mo###{/SPAN} Jewish capital into {SPAN}S###{/SPAN} banon. An {SPAN}announc###{/SPAN} sued by the Syrian {SPAN}a###{/SPAN} viting Jews to {SPAN}settl###{/SPAN}

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund