Thursday 7 May 2015


In 1885, Paul Vasili (pseudonym for French feminist Juliette Adam?) published a book on Viennese society. One chapter deals with anti-Semitism, adopting a satirical tone.

The driving force behind anti-Semitism was the politician Georg Schönerer, modestly talented as a speaker, modestly talented as a lawmaker, modestly talented as a politician and economist,…but a man with a raging ambition.

One day he asked himself how he might obtain fame.
He searched and searched…and seized on the first idea he came across, the most extravagant idea anyone could raise in Austria: to make Austria German.

An evil omen of things to come, Schönerer visited all taverns, drank everywhere with students, insinuated himself into their company, held speeches, and everywhere spread the gospel of a union with Germany.

The idea did not appeal to Austrians at the time. His speeches prompted either general amusement or vehement protests…no one in parliament took this nonsense serious.

Then Schönerer was touched by a more beautiful inspiration…he declared himself the leader of Austrian anti-Semitism. The idea was to save the greatly endangered Christian-Germanic society from Judaism and to defend its material interests against the amoral influence of the Jews.

And so Schönerer began his campaign – a well-nourished man, solid, with a broad ruddy face, and a short, thick neck… a man more like a circus-Hercules than a prophet, but incomparable in his zeal, his fire, and his energy. He no longer sleeps, he no longer eats. He doesn’t go to bed any more. Night and day he moves around. Apparently he has given up on the idea of Anschluss -- joining the German-speaking provinces to the German Empire. He focuses all his enthusiasm on the destruction of Israel’s people. He roams the country, and brings the hunt of Moses’ sons to every town, every village, and every hamlet. – I am joking, but it’s not right to joke about it.

(Source: Paul Vasili, Die Wiener Gesellschaft, my trans.)

No comments:

Post a Comment