Thursday 11 December 2014


By 1891, the Union for the Resistance to Anti-semitism founded by Artur Suttner had 1100 members. In an open letter published in Die Neue Freie Presse he wrote:

The anti-Semitic party (inspired by Adolf Stöcker’s Christian Social Party in Prussia) lays moral siege to Austria and puts pressure on timid minds -- and there are more than enough of those. They conform because they don't want to be labelled  Judenknecht (a servant to Jews). 

Special laws against Jews such as those flourishing in Russia would soon have made their appearance…and laws against all who do not think as do those gentlemen of the persecuting partyThank God, there are still Austrians who resist their reign of terror. 

The anti-Semitic party first tried to make it a question of religion. Their purpose, they said, was to fight those who take up position against Christianity in favor of the Jews. But as Suttner pointed out, the Union had Catholic priests and Protestant pastors among its members.

Then they emphasized the racial difference. This approach was not very successful in multi-cultural Vienna. Finally they found an effective means of arousing hatred and envy: financial competition.

Concentration of money (Grosskapital) kill the little man, they say, and money is concentrated in the hands of the Jews….They neglected the fact that among Jews too there are people who have barely enough to eat, but that phenomenon does not exist for those logicians. They see only the little Christian and the big Jew.
Their arguments are built on feet of clay…but the average citizen is easily persuaded. They are taught all sorts of things in school, except logic.

One of our purposes is to stimulate independent thinking…our twin weapons should be reason and a sense of justice.

Suttner was confident that Austrians would come around to his point of view. The great majority today is better educated, and rowdy attacks in word and deed are not to the taste of cultured Austrians.
But a generation later…

(Source: Article in Neue Freie Presse, 22 July 1891, my translation)

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