Page 9, 18th June 1937

18th June 1937
Page 9
Page 9, 18th June 1937 — Austria's Freedom o Has Mussolini Deserted The Ship ?

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Organisations: Nazi party, Patriotic Front
Locations: Vienna


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Austria's Freedom o Has Mussolini Deserted The Ship ?

NAZIS GO FOR TARD UNTROUBLED Unaccounted Freedom Of I Iitler "Envoy

From Our Austrian Correspondent

The increasingly complex relation between Germany, Austria and Italy makes it impossible to think of Austria's future without misgivings. Besides this, slight bust-ups in the economic and political arenas arc of negligible importance.

Running parallel with the feeling that Mussolini now cares little about Austria's independence as it affects Italy is the firm conviction that the illegal Nazi party is being allowed to carry on its work of propaganda under Capt. Leopold, Hitler's unofficial representative, without sufficient steps being taken to counteract it.

It is quite certain that at the present rate of progress Austria is throwing herself into the arms of Germany and that trouble will break out in the near future.

There are a number of disquieting symptoms. No effort is being spared by the Nazis to make use of sports manifestations to further their aims. The recent AustroGerman football match led to a minor riot between Nazi and Government supporters. Incidents with swastika flags on Danube craft have become so numerous that regulations have been considerably tightened up. And an Austro-German Danube regatta, which was to have been held in July, has had to he abandoned owing to the secret plans to make it into a large-scale Nazi demonstration.

The dissolution of the Heimwchr may or may not have been a wise step. At any rate it is certain, as many predicted, that large numbers of former Heimwehr men are now Nazis. Witness the infamous Neue Zeit of Linz, Nazi paper No. 1, and organ of Prince Starhemberg's former supporters!

Anti-Jew Campaign Spreads Anti-semitism is growing rapidly. The " Aryan paragraph " is being applied in many organisations to exclude Jews. The Archbishop of Salzburg even had to warn certain Catholic organisations against this practice recently. An anti-Semitic Union has been founded. Actors or actresses of Jewish extraction find it almost impossible to obtain film work because of the German myakelal,,A Styrian priest recently had to be' reproved for a violently anthsemitic article in a cletiiCal fiance

In theory there is one all-embracing Government •organisation, the Patriotic Front. But in practice there are any number of different elements within it. Pro-Nazis, Nazi, Socialists, Communists and the Nazis have even had the efiron • tery to try and obtain a special official Nazi section within the Patriotic Front!

Even the Nazis have rival organisations, one of which supports Leopold, Hitler's nominee, and the . other Frauenfeld, the former leader.

The latter is, however, small, and the large and dangerous body is behind Leopold and his headquarters in the Teinfaltstrasse.

The working-classes, too, remain sullen and aloof.

At one time there appeared to be some hope of rallying the Socialist masses to adopt at least a benevolent neutrality to wards the Government. But pro-Nazi intriguers succeeded in getting Dr. Winter's conciliatory action stopped.

Causes of Discontent The recent rise in prices has increased discontent in many quarters, The workers' petition to the Chancellor for free elections and trade unions shows that they remember the past. Indeed, the Governor of Salzburg, Dr. Rehrl, made it pain not long ago that he, too, considered a return to a qualified democracy indispensable for the future of Austria.

The fact is that Austrians are puzzled by the tolerance accorded to the Nazis.

Ostensibly Austria is a totalitarian State, in which either Socialist or Nazi activity

is strictly forbidden. Socialists are constantly being arrested and checked. This is quite comprehensible, but what is not comprehensible is the fact that, although small Nazi fry arc often arrested and imprisoned, the responsible leaders of this illegal movement are not interfered with.

Why is He Unmolested ?

For instance, it is common knowledge that Captain Leopold's Teinfaltstrasse headquarters in Vienna are in reality the headquarters of the illegal Nazi party. His prominent supporters are wellknown. Indeed, the Neue Zeit (again!) not long ago published a list of wellknown Government supporters who actually sympathise with the Nazis.

The Osterreichischer Beobachter (the Nazi organ) is supposed to be banned, but is sent out by post in thousands. Quite a number of camouflaged Nazi papers exist and are growing daily bolder. No wonder the working-classes feel aggrieved at this paradoxical farce!

There are, of course, reasons for this. There is the agreement with Germany of last July.. Germany has kept neither the spirit nor the letter, but the Austrian Chancellor has kept his part of the bargain more than loyally.' Aiistridn renreieion, too, is not German 'brutality. Austrian methods never have been German Methods. All that once was best in German culture and civilisation lives on in Austria and must live on. For this reason strength is necessary to fight the menace.

Monarchists Now " Unimportant "

The Monarchists are under a cloud, as a result of Mussolini's cold-shouldering.

At the moment the Church is the one bulwark that is not infected with Nazism. Catholics fully understand the lesson of the persecution in Germany and, while sections of the population are flirting with Nazism in the hope of favours to come and thinking that they have nothing to lose at present, there is also a counter-current.

During his recent visit to Vienna, Baron von Neurath is reputed to have been asked by the Chancellor his opinion of the German situation. "Serious, but not desperate . . . And here? Desperate, but not serious."

Such stories arc usually apocryphal, but there is au element of serious truth in this. Austria is in an uncommonly difficult situation, but Austria also has extraordinary resilience. The Chancellor has accomplished wonders these last three years. If energetic measures are taken without delay and positive efforts are made to build up an effective anti-Nazi front among the masses and the real Austrians, there will be no need to despair yet.

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