Page 2, 18th February 1944

18th February 1944
Page 2
Page 2, 18th February 1944 — JEWS AND AUSTRIA
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JEWS AND AUSTRIA

SIR,-In connection with Mr. Ruhin's article in your issue of February4, entitled " 97 per cent. Jews claim to represent a country with 3 per cent. Jews," lased on an interview with me. I should like to make the following statements: (1) The Free Austrian Movement-ot which it is quite correct to say that it consists largely of Jews and persons of Jewish extraction-has never claimed to be a true representation of the Austrian people at home, but has at all times emphasised its character as a working committee of various Austrian organisations with certain common aims, i.e., to work for a declaration on the side of the Allies of non-recognition of the annexation of 'Austria, to organise Austrians in this country for the best possible participation in the war effort, and to try to obtain the formation of an Austrian Fighting Unit, or at least permission for Austrians to enter combatant units of the British Army. These objects have been achieved, and since the Moscow Declaration the Free Austrian Movement has concentrated on preparatory work for post-war relief and reconstruction in Austria, and on the formation and recognition of an Austrian Committee as a trustee of the Austrian Freedom Front and of the interests of Austria. It is the aim of the F.A.M. to bring into this Committee the few well-known Austrian patriots who, by reason of their fame and position, still enjoy respect aiist authority among Austrians abroad and whose names carry some weight in Austria irrespective of their political denomination. It was never intended that the Free Austrian Movement in its present composition should form this Austrian Committee.

(2) Although I personally always regretted the pan-German conception of many Social-Democrat leaders up to the Nazi rising to power in Germany-a pan-German conception which, until quite recently, has still been strongly advocated by a small Socialist group outside the Free Austrian Movement in this country-I never said that in 1938 we experienced in Austria a complete collapse of social-democrat morals. This, in view of the sincere, although belated, united efforts by the Socialists and the Government to preserve Austria's independence during the last days of Schuschnigg's regime, would be a complete distortion of the truth.

(3) With regard to the return of Austrian Jewish refugees to Austria 1 merely said that some of them would .probably wish to remain in their new homes. As to the restitution of the robbed, confiscated and stolen Jewish property In Austria, I pointed out that this will be an extremely difficult and complicated problem, but did not declare that it would in general not be feasible. Inconclusion would like to say that it is hardly just to blame an Austrian of Jewish faith or Jewish extraction for his patriotism and interest in the future of his country.

DR. PETER VON ALBERT.

Chairman,Austria Youth Association. Member of the Executive Committee of the Free Austrian Movement.

[We do not think that Mr. Eli Rubin'sarticle—Mr. Rubin Is himself a Jew-earrkd the implication objected SO in the -last paragraph of the above letter.--Eorroa, C.H.]




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