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150 Prominent Jews Seized in Austria; Drive Launched to Reduce Jews to Reich Status

March 14, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

At least 150 prominent Jews, bankers and business men, were arrested today as dagger-and truncheon-armed Nazi Brownshirts, acting as auxiliary police, began direct action to reduce Austria’s 200,000 Jews to the same status as Germany’s Jews.

Storm troops raided the offices of the Austrian Zionist Federation, the Palestine Office (agency for distributing Palestine immigration certificates), the Palestine Foundation Fund, the Jewish National Fund, and the newspaper, Die stimme. The premises of these organizations were sealed and all funds found were confiscated. Jews later visiting these offices for information were arrested.

The cry, “Perish Judea!” Is being heard with increasing frequency throughout Vienna. Members of the Army Officers’ School paraded through the city shouting “Heil Hitler! Out with the Jews!”


Meanwhile, complete elimination of Jews from the life of the community was launched. The Austrian Athletic and Sporting Front expelled all Jewish sports associations. Herman Roedeling, manager of the Burg Theatre, Austrian national theatre, was dismissed and replaced by Mirko Yelusitch, well-known anti-Semite. The managers of the Deutsches Volks Theatre and Max Reinhardt’s Josefstadt Theatre were dismissed. The converted Jew, Herr Jahn, director of the Volks Theatre, was replaced by an “Aryan,” Dr. Lothar. The stage manager of the Josefstadt Theatre was replaced by an “Aryan.” It was announced that all other Jewish members of theatres will be dismissed soon.

Not a single article written by a Jew appeared in today’s press, while the Wiener Neuste Nachrichten, Nazi newspaper, demanded the complete elimination of all Jewish influence from cultural spheres.

These developments came as President Wilhelm Miklas resigned, this evening turning over all powers to the new Nazi Chancellor, Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart.


The Austrian Broadcasting System was merged with the German system, The newspaper Wiener Tag was the latest to be suspended, while Nazis raided and sealed the prem

The Jewish owner of the newspaper Telegraf, Herr Bondy, was reported to have been arrested in attempting to leave the country after his paper re-appeared last night with the masthead, “National Socialist Telegraf,” and a new staff. Nazi storm troopers had occupied the paper’s premises Friday night, as well as those of the Echo Press.

Signs reading “German Shop” and “Aryan Shop” appeared in stores throughout Vienna. (Similar signs were used to identify German shops in the Reich when an anti-Jewish boycott movement was launched on the Nazis’ accession to power in 1933.)

Jewish anxiety was increased by an announcement during a broadcast from Linz that henceforth the passports of “certain people” would be cancelled.


Despite continued excitement and giant demonstrations, no serious anti-Jewish disorders had been reported today. There were isolated incidents yesterday morning when a troop of Nazis rode through Vienna’s Jewish quarters on bicycles and created some disturbances. Friday night some Jewish shops were attacked during Nazi celebrations.

Apart from these incidents and the general demonstrations, order prevailed generally, with German warplanes flying overhead and the streets patrolled by rifle-armed storm troops. Truckloadsof soldiers and police wearing swastika armbands rumbled through the streets. Streets of the Jewish quarters were similarly patrolled.

The Yiddish talking picture, “The Dybbuk,” based on the famous play of that name by S. Ansky, continued to be shown last night. However, tonight’s scheduled premiere of a Palestinian talking picture depicting Jewish achievements was cancelled.

The number of Jewish shops closed Saturday did not exceed the usual number that shut for the Sabbath. Small orthodox synagogues were crowded by worshippers complying with instructions of the Orthodox Jewish Community, but a number of the larger synagogues did not hold services.

Deep anxiety prevailed in Jewish quarters, but it could not be described as a panic atmosphere. Large crowds besieged banks in the Jewish neighborhoods seeking to withdraw savings.

The Nazi coup took Austria’s Jews completely by surprise, since it had been believed up to Friday that ex-Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg would be able to hold out. Jewish leaders were meeting privately to consider how to adjust the community to the new conditions and how to establish relations with the new regime. The leaders were expected to issue some guiding lines for the community tomorrow.

The clerical Reichspost appeared on the streets yesterday, but was later confiscated for reporting the terms of the German ultimatum to ex-President Miklas and Dr. Schuschnigg, and Friday night’s attacks on Jewish shops.

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