Jews in Vienna

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

The Specter of Jewish World Rule

Another tower climber
During pogroms in Russia in 1903, unfathomable atrocities and massacres were committed against Jews in Kishinev. In mortal fear, hundreds of thousands of people once again fled across the borders.

Money was collected in Western Europe to provide at least temporarily for the hungry and homeless, and also to aid Galicia, which did not have enough resources to deal with the situation. The anti-Semites berated the donors as Jew lackeys. The donations, they charged, were only going to be handed over to the "Russian Revolution" anyway. Therefore the donors were "supporters of the Jewish murderers and revolutionaries."

In all of Western Europe the fear of further floods of immigrants from Russia was fanned systematically. After all, more than five million Jews lived in the czarist empire, more than in all other countries combined. In comparison: there were more than two million Jews in Austro-Hungary -approximately 850,000 in Hungary, another 850,000 in Galicia, more than 100,000 in Bukovina, and some 200,000 in Vienna. There were altogether fewer than 600,000 Jews in the German Reich, 400,000 of them in Prussia. France had only approximately 100,000 Jews, Italy, some 35,000, and Spain, 25,000.

The anti-Semites painted a nightmarish picture of the Russian Revolution of 1905. They accused the Jews of pulling the wires of the revolution and of trying to provoke a revolution in Western Europe as well, with the support of the Social Democrats, in order to establish "Jewish world rule."

A coincidental encounter provided fodder for these theories: in Austria, the news about the czar's manifesto of October 1905 happened to explode like a bomb during the Social Democrats' party convention. Dr.

Wilhelm Ellenbogen was standing at the rostrum, when his fellow party members broke out into shouts of joy, yelling: "Hail to the Russian Revolution! Hail to universal suffrage!" Ellenbogen interrupted his speech and solemnly read the czar's manifesto, which granted freedom of the press and the rights of assembly and of convening the Duma, tying these events to demands he put to the Austrian government: "In Russia, the frightened czar has already gone so far as to grant universal suffrage, and our oh-so comfortable dynasty is supposed to lag behind Russia? ...We no longer want to be the prototype of the black-robed land, the land of tutelage, the land of backwardness, of camarilla. Suffrage is an existential issue to us." He reminded the deputies of the proletariat's weapon, "the paralyzation of all production, of mass strike," and said: "When push comes to shove, the comfortable and prudent proletariat of Austria will be able to speak Russian too." According to the minutes, this prompted "tumultuous applause.

When at the end of November 1905 the Social Democrats organized a mass rally in Vienna for universal, equal suffrage, the Christian Socials under Lueger held a counter demonstration in the city hall's Volkshalle, whose tenor was: "Down with Jewish terrorism! " The Deutsches Volksblatt wrote: "Who leads Social Democracy? The Jews Adler and Ellenbogen! Who assists them in public? The entire Jewish press! And who provides the money for it? Jewish high finance!-Just as the Jews are the incendiaries and agitators in Russia, so they are here at home."

Before a gathering of constituents, Lueger alluded to the latest Jewish pogroms in southern Russia, which cost several thousands of lives, shouting, "I am warning especially the Jews in Vienna not to go as far as their Russian brethren in faith and not to get too involved with the Social Democratic revolutionaries. I am warning them most emphatically what happened in Russia, might happen here. We in Vienna are anti-Semites, but we certainly weren't made to commit murder and manslaughter. Yet should the Jews threaten our fatherland, we will know no mercy either. I do want to put out a warning of these sad consequences." At this point "demonstrative applause" broke out "which lasted for minutes."

This speech greatly upset the liberals, who responded with a parliamentary interpellation against Lueger's "inflammatory and incendiary political speech," which contained "direct, open, and brutal calls to excesses, violence, pillaging, theft, and murder against citizens who have equal protection under the federal constitution." This speech was all the more dangerous as it originated from the "chief of such a large city," who should really tend to peace among the populace rather than incite the citizens against one another .

Lueger reinforced his opinion during the debate on the interpellation: "When I look at the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, anybody who can distinguish different races must admit that the leaders of Social Democracy are exclusively Jews. (Cheers and applause.) It may be that here and there one of them is baptized, but surely there are bona fide Jews among them too, and the one who is supposedly baptized, Dr. Adler, is recognizable." Lueger then went on to portray himself as a peaceful man, saying he even had "very often protected the Jews against my party's will": "I can only say, you rarely have a party where the most mellow one is the leader." In March 1906 the Christian Socials submitted another petition for restricting the immigration of Russian Jews in order "to protect the native, Christian resident population from such an invasion."

When Hitler arrived in Vienna in 1907, the topic of the Russian Jews was as hot as before, particularly after the publication of a fiercely anti-Semitic book that the Christian Socials promoted vigorously: The Revolution in Russia by Rudolf Vrba. It argued that the pogroms and massacres of Russian Jews were nothing but part of a Christian battle of defense against the Jewish threat: "The Russian with a strong national sense defends

himself desperately against the clutches of the Jewish tentacles." "The 'Mandelstams and Silberfarbs' have thrown the torch of sedition into the Czar's gigantic Empire: therefore the blood that was shed during the revolution is now first and foremost spilled on the heads of the Jews."

This book, which with its many statistics and quotes leaves the impression of being a precise documentary account, equated Jews and Social Democrats and conjured up the dangers of a Jewish world conspiracy. It argued that if the Russian Jews obtained equal civil rights on top of every- thing else, then-"just as in certain constitutional states which we don't have to mention"-the "peoples, upper and lower classes, [would be] exploited and sucked dry, and constitutional governments [would be] forced into total moral and high-financial dependence on them." "For the Jews don't want 'equality' but complete domination."

Vrba wrote that there was no persecution of the Jews, only persecution of Christians, against which Christians had to defend themselves: "One shouldn't confront us with the little anti-Semitism in this world as proof against this assertion. ...If there has perhaps been a minor exception in Kishinev and not only Christians but Jews too became victims, this has been atoned and made up for by decades of prison sentences."

Later on Hitler would use similar arguments when he denied the existence of the persecution of the Jews, saying, for example, in 1923: The Jew strives for absolute power in the country of restrictions against the Jews but not of their persecution, for in the past 200 years there have been no more persecutions of the Jews, only one continuing persecution of Christians !

The Deutsches Volksblatt in particular, which Hitler read, fanned the fear of the Russian Jews. In 1908, for example, it published an editorial warning, penned by a Romanian university professor from Yassy. The "invasion" of the Russian Jews, the professor wrote, who "ruin peoples and destroy states," had gone so far "that all national property has fallen into Jewish hands." In 1849, he said, 72 percent of the people in Yassy had still been Romanian, 8 percent of various nationalities, and 20 per- cent Jewish; but now only 45.5 percent were Romanian, 4.5 of other nationalities, and 50 percent Jewish. The professor continued: "If we let the Jews destroy the middle class, if we deliver our cities to these alien perpetrators, then we are lost. Therefore a healthy solution to the Jewish

problem is a veritably existential issue for our nation. It is a question of to be or not to be, of defending our life, and of the highest goods of national security and national future. Woe unto the nation that doesn't have the strength to fend off the alien invasion but apathetically watches as legions of cunning Jews penetrate all areas of public life, tear the bread out of the nation's mouth, and economically subjugate it."

Reasoning that the rule of Russian Jews and revolutionaries was a threat first to Romania, but then to Austro-Hungary as well, all anti-Semitic parties called for strict defense measures. The Social Democrats, however continued to express their solidarity with the goals of the Russian Revolution and protested against the 1905 repealing of democratic rights, the dissolution of the Duma, and political tortures and massacres against Jews. In 1911 Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary who had escaped from Siberia, appeared as a speaker at the Social Democratic party convention. Between 1907 and 1914 Trotsky lived in Vienna with his wife and children, worked there as a newspaper correspondent, edited the Russian Pravda for workers, and was on friendly terms with Vienna's Social Democrats. In his speech he praised the solidarity of Austria's Social Democracy with the Russian Revolution, saying: "The Russian workers were enthusiastic mainly about two speeches, that of Comrade Adler's powerful indictment in Austria's first parliament of universal suffrage against the sentencing of our second Duma party group, and of Comrade Ellenbogen's glowing speech in the delegation concerning the torture of political prisoners. I recall these two speeches with gratitude." Because Adler, Ellenbogen, and Trotsky were Jewish, the anti-Semites had new "proof" of their assertion regarding the attempted "Jewish world rule" with the help of international Social Democracy and the "Jewish press."

The third supporter on the road to the coming world revolution supposedly were the "money Jews." The Brigittenauer Bezirks~Nachrichten commented on some 300 international economic experts, who had convened according to news reports: "These 300 men are from the tribe of Judah and bequeath their right to rule within their families. They are the 300 kings of our time, who rule in actuality, pushing the old monarchs down to the mere level of sham princes." The German nation, the paper said, was ruined and "denationalized."

The Jews were allegedly planning "the establishment of an international alliance of banks with its seat in Washington" and would soon "publicly dictate its laws to the world": "High finance is destined to become the successor to empires and kingdoms, and with a lot more authority at that, since their authority will rule not only one country but the whole world." The local newspaper, with which Hitler was very familiar, drew this conclusion: "We a11 struggle and get incensed, and even have fights with one another when we get worked up, while the Jew turns the wheel of history, laughing scornfully." Hitler the politician turned the myth about the Jewish revolution into a keystone of his propaganda, usually in connection with the Russian Revolution of 1917 - for instance, in a 1942 speech : We know the theoretical principle and the cruel truth about the aims of this global scourge. It is called rule of the proletariat, and it means dictatorship of the Jews! It implies the extermination of the peoples' national leadership and intelligentsia, and the Jewish international criminals' exclusive domination over the proletariat, which will then be without leaders and thus defenseless through its own fault. What had happened in Russia to such a horrifying extent, the extermination of countless millions of leaders, was supposed to continue in Germany.

At any rate, after 1918 and 1919, the young politician put his finger on the pulse of his time when he announced the fight against the alleged cause of all misery, "the Jew": If the Jew and his Marxist creed are victorious over the other peoples of the world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of humanity and this planet will move through the ether devoid of men, as it did thousands of years ago. Eternal Nature inexorably avenges the infringement of her commands. Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. The Germans, he continued, had to learn to combat poison gas with poison gas. It is our duty to inform all weaklings that this is a question of to be or not to be.

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