{hautgauche}

 

 

[Historical Background
 [Eastern Jews' Mass Migration]  
[Parliamentary Debates - Western & eastern Jews]
[The Specter of Jewish World Rule]  
[Was Young hitler Anti-semite?
[Two examples]

[Transports (of Porges) from Vienna to KZ Camps]


Hitler's Vienna
A dictator's apprencticeship
by Brigitte Hamann

The Eastern Jews' Mass Migration

In 1881 Russian Czar Alexander II was assassinated. "Jewish revolutionaries" were blamed and pogroms were decreed, which led to actual massacres. Fearing for their lives "people fled across the border to Galicia, which was already overpopulated" had the largest percentage of Jews among its population" and was suffering from unemployment and starvation. Some 200,000 Jewish itinerant beggars roamed through the land and were called "air people" for nobody really knew what they lived of and where they belonged.

The army of begging Jews was now multiplied by the Russian refugees. Many moved to the large European ports in order to emigrate overseas, and into the big cities: Vienna, Berlin" Prague, and Budapest. Before 1914, some altogether two million Eastern Jews set out on their journey. Along their way" they faced xenophobia and anti-Semitism to an extent they had never experienced before.

As early as 1882 the First International Anti-Jewish Congress convened in Dresden. In a manifesto the participants called for a battle against the foreign Jews and unsuccessfully demanded that the European governments put a stop to Russian-Jewish immigration and militarily se- cure their borders. Anti-Semites of all different orientations and from almost all Western European countries were in agreement in their demand to rescind the emancipation of the Jews. They requested that the Jews - all of them, even those who had been in their new home country for a long time - be subjected to alien law, inasmuch as they allegedly could not be assimilated, representing a threat to Christians.

The Austrian Jews, however, knew that they were safely protected by the federal authorities. Those in danger received police protection. Anti-Semitic brochures were confiscated. This kind of legal protection was easier to put into effect in the cities than in the country - in, say, Galicia or in Hungary - where anti-Semitic riots repeatedly took place. Therefore even more Eastern Jews immigrated to the capital "even though since 1897 Vienna had been ruled by the anti-Semites under Lueger. Yet the Emperor was also in Vienna, and particularly the Eastern Jews expressed their loyalty to him. Vienna’s chief rabbi Dr. Moriz Güdernann said in 1908: "Our Emperor has repeatedly said that all subjects of his large Empire are equally close to his paternal heart, regardless of their nation or faith. ...After all, it is precisely the lack of distinction and equal rights for all which the Emperor has sanctioned and regards as sacrosanct, which obliges the Jews to feel the deepest gratitude to him."

However, the flood of anti-Semitism sometimes put the emperor himself at a loss. He expressed this among his family; his daughter Marie Valerie recorded in her diary: "We talked about hatred and Pa said : Yes yes, of course we do everything we can to protect the Jews" but who really is not an anti-Semite?"

Anti-Semitic politicians quickly rose to the top in Vienna. In the 1880’s Schönerer collected the votes of farmers and students. In the 1890’s Lueger experienced his triumph by being even more successful in winning the votes of the small businessmen and craftsmen.

The Christian Social Brigittenauer Bezirks-Nachrichten compared the "battle" against the Eastern Jews to the uniting of the nation in the liberation wars against Napoleon: This time, "not a mass of men on horseback, but a dark menacing, filthy cloud of powerful men from the East is banking up ..threatening to completely suppress and stifle our liberty .Who wants to and who can deny that we are already do languish under Jewry's yoke and things are happening which must needs turn any German's face crimson with shame?"

Statistics were put together in schools, theaters, factories, and in Parliament to prove the alleged "Judaicizing" of Vienna. For that purpose, religious and baptized Jews, people belonging to a Jewish "clan" or married to a Jew or with Jewish-sounding names, and even liberals, Social Democrats and other "Jew lackeys" were lumped together, regardless of their origin or denomination, in order to paint the desired horrific picture. A Berlin observer reported with astonishment on the extent of the anti- Semitic movement in Vienna: "Vienna's anti-Semitism differs enormously from that in the German Reich, for while it is only a national animosity in Germany, in Austro-Hungary it is clerical-German- national-strictly Czech-Catholic ! In other words, a sea serpent of the various parties' special national-political interests, all of which believe they possess in anti-Semitism the ultimate means of making people happy."

Around 1900 the itinerant peddlers and white slave traders served the anti-Semites to form a stereotypical image of the Eastern Jews as enemies. On his way westward, the "Handeleh" made ends meet by selling odds and ends, thus competing with the old-established merchants, who could now no longer dictate prices. The first rallies against the peddlers took place as early as the seventies. After a struggle that lasted for years, the Christian Social minister of trade prevailed in prohibiting peddling in Vienna in 1910, "for the protection of the honestly working trades- people residing in Vienna." In Mein Kampf, Hitler also used this cliché when he tied his alleged transformation into an anti-Semite to his encounter with a Viennese Handeleh.

Leopoldstadt

The slogan "Don't buy from Jews!" was applied to peddlers as well as department stores and was bandied about by anti-Semites of every political ilk. Under the title "German Women! Avoid Jewish Stores When You Shop!" the Pan-German Yearbook for German Women and Girls read in 1904: "For example, what disgrace it is for a German family when on and under the shining, arch-German Christmas tree there are presents for the dear ones that were bought in Jewish stores! Any German who buys his Christmas presents from Jews dishonors himself and besmirches his own nationality." In order better to enforce the shopping embargo, a petition was made in the Lower Austrian state parliament even to segregate the stands of Jewish and Christian merchants in the marketplaces-which the Chamber of Commerce was able to strike down after protests from the Jewish community.

The second inimical image of the Eastern Jew , the white slave trader , took up the old cliché of the Jewish seducer. On the other hand, around 1900 there were indeed a number of criminal cases in which Eastern Jews were implicated. Contrary to the anti-Semitic stereotype, however, these incidents were not about the seduction of "blonde" Christian girls, but the trade with poor Jewish women from the Eastern European shtetls, some of them from Galicia.

The white slave traders always employed the same methods: the well-dressed, obviously well-to-do trader appeared in the shtetl, approached a poor family with many children, acted like the future son-in-law, and married the girl, who was still a child, in a Jewish rite. To the joy of her parents he refused to accept a dowry and took "his wife" along with him, offering her a supposedly nicer life. This method could be used any number of times, because a ritual wedding was not legally binding. Another method was to take advantage of the desolate situation of those young women whose husbands were itinerant beggars and had been missing.

These women were indigent but were not allowed to remarry , inasmuch as they were not divorced. If they let themselves be seduced and were thus "disgraced," the white slave traders could easily take them along. In particularly poor families with many children there were even instances of child trading. Typically the girls and women were illiterate, spoke only Yiddish, and were completely at the criminals mercy, especially because they were emotionally bound in their marriage. Before they realized what was happening to them, they ended up in Hamburg brothels - usually via Serbia-which were called "girl export depots," or on a ship heading overseas. Prices in Odessa ranged from five hundred to two thousand rubles rubel per girl; in Hamburg the going rate was fifteen hundred marks. In Buenos Aires, for example, the girls were typically sold to brothel owners right at the landing dock for prices between three thousand and six thousand francs. There the girls from Galicia, called " Austriacas," represented the third-largest group of prostitutes, after the natives and the Russians. The traders-among them women-constantly changed their names and carried forged documents, often British or Turkish passports. A great deal of bribe money was paid to civil servants during these transactions.

The Jewish communities supported the fight against crime with all their might, for several reasons: to help the girls, to stop the criminals in their tracks, and also to stop providing fuel for anti-Semitism. Thus Vienna's Zionist Neue National-Zeitung reported in 1913 that of thirty-nine white slave traders in Galicia, thirty-eight were Jewish. Another time they reported that 90 percent of the three thousand prostitutes in Argentina were Jewish. They invariably combined their reports with urgent calls to do everything imaginable to put an end to these crimes. The international conferences on fighting the white slave trade were attended by rabbis as well. Such a conference took place in Vienna in October 1909-during Hitler's Vienna years-eliciting a large, controversial response in the press.

Itinerant teachers and woman social workers traveled to Galicia to educate and warn people, and to aid girls and their parents. One of these Jewish activists was a woman who played an important role in the history of psychoanalysis: Bertha Pappenheim, that "case of Anna 0." that served Freud to conduct his Studies on Hysteria and to develop the concept of psychoanalysis. Affluent and single, she devoted herself to the welfare of women, established homes for endangered girls, studied social conditions on travels through Russia, Romania, and Galicia, and also supported the establishment of a small industry for woman workers in Galicia for example, lace-makers and seamstresses - so they could earn "decent" wages after attending training courses.

There was also support from the private foundation of Baron Moriz Hirsch, who enforced the building of schools in Galicia, for Jewish as well as Christian children, both boys and girls. After all, part of the reason why Eastern Jewish girls were so behind in education was that they were not accepted into the religious "Chedorim" schools.

But all of this took a great deal of time, and all the while anti-Semitism kept getting worse. In any case, particularly the standing expression "Jewish white slave traders" was a popular anti-Semitic term that Hitler too used in Mein Kampf: The relationship of Jews to prostitution and, even more, to the white~slave traffic, could be studied in Vienna as perhaps in no other city of Western Europe, with the possible exception of the southern French ports.

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