New Order

75 years after the anschluss

Over half of Austrians think National Socialists would be elected if allowed to run

Hitler in HeldenplatzRAPTUROUS HOMECOMING — Adolf Hitler speaks to hundreds of thousands of joyous fellow Austrians at the Heldenplatz in Vienna on Mar. 15, 1938, following his return to his homeland.

VIENNA — As Austria prepares to mark the anniversary of its [union with National Socialist] Germany, an opinion poll has shown that more than half of the population think it highly likely that the [National Socialists] would be elected if they were readmitted as a party.

A further 42 percent agreed with the view that life “wasn’t all bad under the Nazis”, and 39 percent said they thought a recurrence of anti-Semitic persecution was likely in Austria.


The disturbing findings were contained in a poll conducted for the Vienna newspaper Der Standard in advance of Tuesday’s 75th anniversary of Austria’s [National Socialist] annexation — a date which [some] still count as one of the most shameful and controversial in the country’s history.

Tens of thousands of Austrians gave Adolf Hitler and his troops a rapturous welcome when they [entered] the country unopposed in March 1938. Austria fought World War II as part of [National Socialist] Germany, and many Austrians helped run [wartime internment centers].

Yet for decades, postwar Austria frequently perpetuated the myth that it was a victim of Nazi oppression. Der Standard said its poll was designed to show how today’s Austrians judged [National Socialist] rule.


Neighboring Germany’s popular Stern magazine described the poll’s findings as shocking today. The poll also showed that 61 percent of Austrian adults wanted to see a “strong man” in charge of government, and 54 percent said they thought it would be “highly likely” that the [National Socialists] would win seats if they were allowed to take part in an election.

Some 46 percent of those polled said they believed Austria was a victim of Nazi oppression in 1938, while 61 percent said they believed that “enough” had been done to reappraise Austria’s [National Socialist] past.

The poll’s damning findings have been echoed by organizations, such as the Israel office of the Simon Weisenthal Center which, among other things, has accused Austria of a “consistently terrible record” on tracking down Holocaust® perpetrators over the past 30 years.


In an attempt to improve Austria’s record on [National Socialist]-era reappraisal, the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra announced yesterday that it would publish details about its [National Socialist] collaboration during the Third Reich. The move follows allegations that the orchestra has whitewashed its past.

The orchestra is expected to reveal that it expelled 13 musicians because they were Jewish or opposed the [National Socialist] annexation, and that some of its members were [National Socialists] themselves. Five of those expelled are [claimed] to have later died in concentration camps.


Die Ostmark kehrt heim ins Reich (Austria Comes Home to the Reich)  VIDEO (4:51 min / German)  Footage of Austria's dramatic union with Germany, amid the cheers of thousands 

Der Anschluss Österreich  VIDEO (6:12 / German in color with music)  Scenes from the Greater German union  

Jews wary 75 years after Hitler annexed Austria


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