Page 9, 11th March 1938

11th March 1938
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Page 9, 11th March 1938 — AUSTRIA'S SINISTER HOME SECRETARY
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AUSTRIA'S SINISTER HOME SECRETARY

From Our Austrian Correspondent After Graz, Linz.

Linz, Austria's third city and the capital of the province of Upper Austria, is the Nazi's second stronghold.

So Linz Nazis decided to celebrate as well, and Dr. Seyss-Inquart, the ubiquitous Home Secretary, fresh from his pacification efforts (not too successful) at Graz, had to hurry to Linz.

It would be exceedingly foolish to cherish any illusions about Dr. SeyssInquart.

His speeches both to the Graz and Linz Nazi leaders leave no doubt as to where he stands. Austrian Catholics will find him. as a moderate. perhaps more dangerous than an open Nazi like Captain Leopold.

Complete Fusion with Germany

At Linz, he went so far as to call himself a Nazi and to say that his ultimate aim was a complete fusion with Germany. Henceforth Austrian policy would be, he stated, linked to German policy, and time would accomplish the rest.

On the other hand, he made it plain that as yet illegal Nazi activities would not be tolerated, the Patriotic Front being the only political organisation allowed. Public use of uniforms, badges, swastikas, the " Heil Hitler " greeting, etc. . . . remain banned, while he described German Nazi songs such as the Horst Wessel song as " too sacred " for every-day use!

These seemingly moderate regulations are, of course, winked at. Dr. SeyssInquart was greeted on arrival in Linz and Graz by hundreds of Storm Troopers in black and brown uniforms. The " Heil Hitler " could be heard on all sides and swastikas are to be seen in thousands. (Moreover, offenders are only to be warned).

Styrian Governor Resigns

In Graz the Nazis think that the millennium has come. Their agitation has led to the resignation of the Governor of Styria, Dr. Stephan, and of the local chief of the police.

The latest Nazi move here is, despite an official ban, the circulation of sheets inducing office employees, workmen, shopkeepers, etc. . . . to sign on as Nazi sympathisers: pressure and terrorism are being used wholesale, despite indignant Catholic and Socialist protests. In the provincial government offices, for instance. the Nazis claim that 95 per cent. have signed.

The new Governor, Herr Trummer-a Catholic-is also not to Nazi taste. His refusal to allow the Nazis more than one out of seven seats in the Styrian Provincial Government at once led to Nazi demonstrations and demands for his resignation.

Major Fey Again

A figure to watch at this anxious moment is Major Emil Fey. The former Heimwchr leader and Vice-Chancellor who has been out of politics for two years, is preparing to help to rally moderate Austrian opinion to the Chancellor. It will undoubtedly find a powerful ally in Herr Reither. the Catholic peasant leader whose influence with the peasants of Lower Austria is tremendous.

Meanwhile the Chancellor has received workmen's delegations composed of Catholic and Socialist workers' representatives. The latter have set out their grievances and appealed for free and unhampered trade union activity with democratic rights.

Equal Rights

In reply the Chancellor has made it plain that the same concessions will be made to the Socialists as to the Nazis. This should prove a great reinforcement for the Catholic forces bent on the preservation of Austria.

At the moment the chief dangers ahead are the raising of the ban on the gymnastic youth organisations and the " German Day " to be held on March 27. The former always were purely camouflaged Nazi Youth societies and the raising of the ban, in practice, means freedom for Nazi Youth, The German Day will be celebrated all over Austria and will be a real trial of strength. Already the Nazis are whipping up their supporters and there is a distinct danger that these gatherings may get out of hand. It is possible that the Chancellor' may yet decide to ban these demonstrations.




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