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Old 04-14-2021, 06:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Karl Leuger (1844-1910)

Like many anti-Semites, Lueger was not above taking work from, and inspiration and patronage from a Jew, Dr. Igmaz Mandl, who was in fact his role model and advocate when he set up his lawyer’s practice in 1874. The fact that the man whom he would inspire to the greatest national and international hatreds and crimes against his people would mean that les than fifty years later Mandl would have been not only banned from practicing law, but would have been deported, killed or imprisoned, was never to be brought home to Lueger, as he died before Hitler came to power. A rabid Catholic who had no time for other religions and frowned on non-German speakers, he rose to become leader of the Unite Christian party and was elected mayor of Vienna no less than five times, four times of which he was thwarted by the emperor, Franz Josef, who did not like him and feared his revolutionary and anti-Semitic rhetoric, refusing to confirm him until finally his powerful party appealed to the Pope, who granted his mayorship (presumably over the protests of His Excellency) in 1897.

He proved a popular mayor, and indeed held the post (once confirmed) up until his death in 1910. He was credited with beautifying the city and improving its infrastructure, though his membership in the German National Party, which was notoriously anti-Semitic, seems to be where his views began to either change on, or harden against Jews. He courted the popular vote by raising “the Jewish Question”, a phrase which would return to haunt the Jews of Europe in the late 1930s and 1940s, and throw the shadow of the concentration camp across the continent, bringing the word holocaust, if not into our dictionaries then forever linked to the massacre of millions of innocents. An interesting parallel with Hitler’s later ideology, surely not coincidental, was that Lueger was very popular with Viennese women who, though they could not vote, were seen as the best method to indoctrinate their children into the party way of thinking, and also to influence their husbands how to cast their votes. He did not marry, and declared himself essentially married to Vienna, in a chilling future echo of how Hitler would characterise himself, despite being linked with one or two women during his life, one of whom he would marry just before committing suicide.

There is, however, evidence to suggest that either Hitler was chasing the wrong prey, or that he knew this, and cherry-picked the facts he wanted, the ones which were useful to him, from Lueger’s life. Historian William L. Shirer has gone on record to say that "his opponents, including the Jews, readily conceded that he was at heart a decent, chivalrous, generous and tolerant man."[7] According to Amos Elon, "Lueger's anti-Semitism was of a homespun, flexible variety—one might almost say gemütlich. Asked to explain the fact that many of his friends were Jews, Lueger famously replied, 'I decide who is a Jew.' If Lueger did indeed use the prevalent hatred for and anger against Jews to further his own position, this tactic was ignored by the man who would later look to him as an inspiration and quote his policies in his most famous book.

Whether intentionally or not, Hitler was not the only one influenced by Lueger’s views to push towards the advance of fascism. In Austria, Ignaz Seipal, Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg, all prominent politicians, would drive the country in a direction which would later serve Hitler’s need as he, at a single stroke, “liberated” Austria as one of his first pre-war acts.


Georg Ritter Von Schönerer (1842-1921)

Another of the hypocrisies of Hitler’s logic is that a man who was born into wealth and influence, and who worked for some of the richest and most powerful Jews in Austria, the Rothschilds, should have such an effect on him and help him shape his worldview. Where is the “ordinary German (or Austrian I guess) man” here? Where is the poor, oppressed, disenfranchised and downtrodden son of Germany? Not in Georg Ritter von Schönerer, that’s for sure! His father knighted by the same emperor who four times refused to confirm Karl Lueger as mayor, Georg’s early manhood did parallel Hitler’s in a way, in that the defeat of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War disillusioned him and set him on a course of political radicalism, railing against both the Jews and the Catholics (at least, I guess, he could be said to be an equal opportunities bigot!) and clamouring for the absorption of Austria into the German Reich.

More future echoes of Hitler when Schönerer’s party only accepted true Germans, forbade any sort of association of its members with Jews, and only allowed marriages if both could prove to be of true Aryan descent. In chilling addition, Schönerer was called Fuhrer by his followers, who saluted him with the phrase “Heil”! Schönerer laid the groundwork for a battle against the Jews, claiming that if they (Germans) did not kick the Jews out they would be ousted themselves. In a mini-foreshadowing of Kristallnacht, the night of rampant violence and murder that saw hundreds of Jewish properties burned or wrecked and many dead and injured in 1939, Schönerer ransacked the offices of a Jewish newspaper and assaulted its staff, in 1888, while a few hundred miles to the west Jack the Ripper was stalking the streets of London’s East End. Two dark presences, indeed, cloaking the emergence of a third, far worse, each spreading evil in their own way, one under cover of darkness and subterfuge, the other openly, and with general approval.

Interestingly, given that both were later favourites of Hitler, Schönerer and Lueger were rivals, the latter taking the chance to fill the power vacuum left behind when the former was imprisoned after the raid on the Jewish newspaper.
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Last edited by Trollheart; 04-16-2021 at 02:24 AM.
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