Jews' Mass Migration]
Debates - Western & eastern Jews]
Specter of Jewish World Rule]
Young hitler Anti-semite?]
(of Porges) from Vienna to KZ Camps]
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
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.
Viennas 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
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 1880s Schönerer collected the votes
of farmers and students. In the 1890s 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.
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
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
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
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
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.