around the 2 worldwars...


Georg Ritter von Schönerer

17 July 1842 - 14 August 1921

He was born in Vienna as Georg Heinrich Schönerer; his father, the wealthy railroad pioneer Matthias Schönerer (1807–1881), was knighted by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1860. He had a younger sister, Alexandrine, later director of the Theater an der Wien, who strongly repudiated her brother's attitudes.

From 1861 he studied agronomy at the universities of Tübingen, Hohenheim and Magyaróvár (Ungarisch-Altenburg, today a campus of the University of West Hungary). He went on conducting the business affairs of his father's estate at Rosenau near Zwettl in the rural Waldviertel region of Lower Austria, where he became known as a generous patriarch of the local peasants and great benefactor. Shaken by the Austrian defeat in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, the dissolution of the German Confederation and the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, young Schönerer became a political activist and ardent admirer of German chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

During the turmoil of the Panic of 1873, he got elected to Cisleithanian Austria’s Imperial Council parliament as a liberal representative but became more and more German nationalist as his career progressed. A great orator and firebrand in parliament, he broke with his party three years later, agitating against "Jewish" capitalism, the ruling Catholic Habsburg dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, which he stigmatised as betrayal of German interests. Schönerer's attitudes and political talent were attractive for national liberal sections of the German-speaking population contemplating the lost chance of a Greater German nation-state, ultimatively squandered in the failed Revolutions of 1848.

Tensions rose in 1879 after the accession of Austrian minister-president Eduard Taaffe, whose monarchist politics Schönerer and his followers considered "anti-German". By 1882 he together with politicians like Viktor Adler and Heinrich Friedjung had worked out the Linz Program ("not liberal, not clerical, but national") of the German national movement, which would become a considerable force in Austrian politics. The program aimed at the autonomy of the predominantly German-speaking Cisleithanian crown lands, including the split-off of "alien" Galicia, Bukovina and Dalmatia, and their affiliation with the German Empire ruled by the House of Hohenzollern. These plans even fit with the ideas of Polish, Hungarian and Croatian nationalists, but would have entailed the disempowerment of the House of Habsburg and the Germanisation of the Czech lands in Bohemia.

By the peak of his career he had transformed into a far-right politician, considered by left-leaning liberals to be even a conservative. Schönerer developed a political philosophy that featured elements of a violent racial opposition to Jews which disregarded religious affiliations. His campaigning became especially vocal upon the arrival of Jewish refugees during the Russian Empire's pogroms, starting in 1881. He fiercely denounced the influence of "exploitative international Jews", and in 1885 had an Aryan paragraph added to the Linz program, which led to the ultimate breach between him on the one hand, and on the other hand Adler and Friedjung.

Schönerer's approach became the model for German national Burschenschaften student fraternities and numerous associations in Cisleithanian Austria. In turn, Jewish activists like Theodor Herzl began to adopt the idea of Zionism. Schönerer's authoritarianism, popular solidarism, nationalism, pan-Germanism, anti-Slavism, and anti-Catholicism appealed to many Viennese, mostly working-class. This appeal made him a powerful political figure in Austria and he considered himself leader of the Austrian Germans.

Schönerer was imprisoned for his raid on a newspaper office. While doing so, he allegedly was drunk, hence this caricature - Georg Ritter von Schönerer
In 1888, he was temporarily imprisoned for ransacking a Jewish-owned newspaper office and assaulting its employees for reporting the imminent death of the admired German emperor Wilhelm I prematurely. This action increased Schönerer’s popularity and helped members of his party get elected to the Austrian Parliament. Nevertheless the prison sentence also resulted not only in the loss of his status as a noble, but also of his mandate in parliament. Schönerer was not re-elected to the Imperial Council until 1897, while rivals like the Vienna mayor Karl Lueger and his Christian Social Party had taken the chance to get ahead.

Later in 1897, Schönerer still was able to help orchestrate the expulsion of Miinister president Kasimir Felix Graf Badeni from office. Badeni had proclaimed that civil servants in Austrian-controlled Bohemia would have to know the Czech language, an ordinance which prevented many ethnic German-speakers (the majority of whom could not speak Czech) in Bohemia from applying for governmental jobs. Schönerer staged mass protests against the ordinance and disrupted parliamentary proceedings, actions which eventually caused Emperor Franz Joseph to dismiss Badeni.

During these years, while the Kulturkampf divided Imperial Germany, Schönerer founded the Los von Rom! movement, which advocated the conversion of all Roman Catholic German-speaking people of Austria to Lutheran Protestantism, or, in some cases, to the Old Catholic Churches. Schönerer became even more powerful in 1901, when 21 members of his party gained seats in the Parliament. His career crumbled rapidly thereafter, however, due to his forceful views and personality. His party suffered as well, and had virtually disintegrated by 1907. But his views and philosophy, not to mention his great skill as an agitator, would go on to influence Hitler and the Nazi Party as a whole.

Karl Lueger

1844 - 1910

Karl Lueger was born in Vienna in 1844 and, having completed his studies, he initially practiced as a lawyer before dedicating himself to a political career in 1875. Over the years Lueger was a Member of Parliament and a member of the Lower Austrian Provincial Legislature though the core of his political activity was taken up by Viennese municipal politics. He was a member of the Vienna City Council for over 30 years and mayor of the city from 1897 till his death in 1910.

Lueger, who at first tended towards liberalism, founded the Christian Socialist Party in 1893. The party regarded itself as serving the interests of the lower middle classes and attempted to address their needs and fears during a period of rapid social change by using slogans that were anti-capitalist, anti-liberal and explicitly anti-Semitic. In order to capture the votes of these social classes a new kind of politician came into being at all levels of politics. He was the “tribunus plebes” and could be characterized as someone who entered into direct contact with the people in pubs, beer halls and market places, who tried to speak “the language of the people” and was no longer an unapproachable representative of the ruling class.

Karl Lueger was an outstanding example of this new kind of politician: he attempted to get a feeling for the mood of “the people”; he like to hold speeches in dialect, took account of the intellectual level of his listeners, made complex issues simple and tried to entertain his public with humorous remarks. He was especially successful when he attacked the supposed enemies of his listeners. He stoked antipathy to politicians with different points of view as well as national and religious minorities. His polemical attacks, sometimes extremely drastically formulated, were not directed towards reason but consciously appealed to emotions and instincts. Thus he understood how to use rousing speeches to win over the Viennese population to his cause, consciously invoking stereotypical images of alleged enemies and, in particular, making use of anti-Semitic prejudice. Every set back was reduced to a simple formula: “The Jews are to blame” and stirred up hatred with statements such as: “ We will prevent the oppression of Christians and a new Palestine replacing the ancient Austrian empire of Christians”. In the process he activated the traditional Catholic anti-Semitism directed against “the people who killed God”. He combined it with anti-liberal and anti-capitalist elements and thus addressed the widespread prejudice against “money and stock market Jews”, “press Jews”, “ink Jews”, i.e. Jewish intellectuals and businessmen. Under his leadership the Christian Socialists regarded their main political task as the reduction of the “rapidly growing power of the Jews” and the reversal of their emancipation which had only taken place in 1867.

Around 1900 the accusations of ritual murder, a relict of the Middle Ages, were once again revived. Catholic clergymen were prominent in disseminating many blood-curdling tales. Lueger was convinced that the Catholic Church was “protection and shield against Jewish oppression” and would “liberate Christian people from the shameful shackles of servitude to the Jews”. Lueger’s championing of the man in the street’s interests, his skill as a political speech-maker as well as his ambitious programme of reforms led to his party gaining the majority in the 1895 municipal elections. Lueger was elected to the office of mayor but Emperor Franz Joseph refused his consent because he considered that, in the light of Lueger’s outspoken anti-Semitism, his confirmation would undermine the laws guaranteeing equality to all citizens. As a result the elections had to be repeated four times before the monarch finally confirmed Lueger in the office of Mayor of Vienna.

During his period of office as mayor of Vienna he realised numerous large-scale projects such as the building of the second Vienna mountain spring water pipeline, the municipalisation of the gas and electricity supply, the tramway system and the building of welfare institutions such as the almshouse in Lainz and the Steinhof psychiatric hospital. In addition to the problems that derived from the rapid social changes and the end of the 19th century, Lueger’s term as Mayor of Vienna was particularly influenced by national conflicts inside the Danube monarchy. Besides that there were increases in unemployment and a wave of price increases so that people became increasingly receptive to radical nationalist slogans.

Lueger’s oft-repeated principle was: “Vienna is German and must remain German”. The vernacular, which, in the multiethnic state, was defined by nationality, formed the starting point for his political position: There was an energetic insistence that those Viennese who spoke no German be forced to communicate in that language.

Lueger also instigated changes in the Vienna naturalisation laws of 1890. The provisions stated that anyone who wished to become a citizen of Vienna had to have a spotless police and business record, have a fixed abode in Vienna for ten years and be able to prove that they had paid their taxes for the same length of time. They had to be economically self-supporting and swear an oath to the mayor “that they would fulfill all the duties of a citizen as laid out in the municipal laws and, to the best of their knowledge and abilities, they would work towards the well-being of the municipality”. An addition was made to this passage in the oath: “and to do everything in their power to uphold the German character of the city”. Furthermore, the ceremony of taking the citizen’s oath in the City Hall was bound up with a formal declaration of the principle that Vienna was a German city.

Even today one can occasionally hear statements to the effect that although Lueger did utter Anti-Semitic slogans, he didn’t mean them seriously. With his much quoted aphorism “I decide who is a Jew!” he arrogated to himself the freedom to make exceptions. This was all harmless compared to the concurrent political activity of Georg Ritter von Schönerer who represented a form of anti-Semitism based on the construct of “race”.

This ignores the fact that Lueger was the first politician to make anti-Semitism “socially acceptable” and who used it to forge a conventional political movement. Thereafter anti-Semitism appeared to many people to be both normal and respectable and it soon found its way into the political programmes of other parties. After Lueger’s death, anti-Semitism became a significant factor in Austrian political life and it was to remain so in the coming decades.

In 1926 a statue was erected to Lueger’s memory. It was designed was by Josef Müller who emerged victorious from a competition in 1912. Due to the First World War and the general lack of funding and materials, the actual building had been postponed. In 1922, the 25th anniversary of Lueger’s conformation as Mayor of Vienna, the Christian Socialist municipal party organisation revived and forced through the planned construction. In September of 1926 the re-designed square with its new monument was officially re-opened to the public.

Édouard Adolphe Drumont

3 May 1844 - 5 February 1917

French anti-Semitic author and former deputy from Algeria; born at Paris on May 3, 1844. Drumont's ancestry is not Jewish, as has been sometimes asserted. His ancestors came from Lille, where they were porcelain-painters. Drumont studied at the Lycée. When Drumont was but seventeen his father died, and left him to earn his own livelihood.He entered the Préfecture de la Seine, but soon left this for the profession of letters. At first he worked on the staff of several daily, weekly, and monthly periodicals. He was one of the chief collaborators on the "Liberté," "Gaulois," and "Petit Journal." During the seventies he published several volumes dealing with historical and theatrical themes.

In 1886 Drumont withdrew from the staff of the "Liberté" (owned by Péreire, a Jew), claiming that the newspapers were unduly controlled by the Jews. He then issued his famous work in two volumes, "La France Juive," a book which may be regarded as the beginning of the anti-Semitic movement in France. It gives an account of the Jews of that country, and analyzes the Jewish element of the French nation. The work, of course, is written from an intensely prejudiced point of view. It has passed through more than one hundred editions, arousing wide-spread interest, and was soon translated into several languages. Because of it, Drumont fought several duels, notably with Charles Laurent and Arthur Meyer. In addition, Drumont wrote the following books to explain his previous work: "La France Juive Devant l'Opinion" (1886), "La Fin d'un Monde" (1888), "Dernière Bataille," "Testament d'un Antisémite" (1889), etc.

Meantime the Panama affair, in which several Jewish financiers were prominently involved, gave to Drumont's agitation great popularity, and in September, 1892, he founded the "Libre Parole," a daily journal of rabid anti-Semitic tendencies. For his anti-Panama articles, Drumont was condemned to three months' imprisonment. In 1893 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of Amiens; the following year he retired to Brussels. The Dreyfus affair helped him to regain popularity, and in 1898 he returned to France and was elected deputy for the first division of Algiers, but was defeated as a candidate for reelection in 1902.


April 22, 1870 - January 21, 1924

Adolf Hitler

20 April 1889 - 30 April 1945

Joseph Roth

1914 - 1916

Josef Roth in Vienna to study litterature. Stopped study to fight at the Eastern Front in the Austrian army.


Progroms Russia & Eastern Europe

1880 - 1921

Pogrom is a Russian word designating an attack, accompanied by destruction, looting of property, murder, and rape, perpetrated by one section of the population against another. In modern Russian history pogroms have been perpetrated against other nations (Armenians, Tatars) or groups of inhabitants (intelligentsia). However, as an international term, the word "pogrom" is employed in many languages to describe specifically the attacks accompanied by looting and bloodshed against the Jews in Russia. The word designates more particularly the attacks carried out by the Christian population against the Jews between 1881 and 1921 while the civil and military authorities remained neutral and occasionally provided their secret or open support. The pogroms occurred during periods of severe political crisis in the country and were linked to social upheavals and nationalist incitement in Eastern Europe. (Similar events also occurred during that period, though on a more limited scale, in the context of the antisemitic movements in Germany, Austria, Romania, and the Balkan countries, and of nationalist and religious fanaticism in *Morocco, *Algeria, and *Persia.)

The Jews of Russia were the victims of three large-scale waves of pogroms, each of which surpassed the preceding in scope and savagery. These occurred between the years 1881 and 1884, 1903 and 1906, and 1917 and 1921. There were outbreaks in Poland after it regained independence in 1918, and in Romania from 1921

"La France Juive"


“La France Juive,” a book which may be regarded as the beginning of the anti-Semitic movement in France.

Dreyfus Affair

November 1894 - 1906

THE DREYFUS AFFAIR was a political scandal that divided France from the affair's inception in 1894 until its resolution in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice for reasons of state and remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice where a major role was played by the press and public opinion.

The affair began in November 1894 with the conviction for treason of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was sent to the penal colony at Devil's Island in French Guiana, where he spent almost five years.

Two years later, in 1896, evidence came to light identifying a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real culprit. After high-ranking military officials suppressed the new evidence a military court unanimously acquitted Esterhazy after the second day of his trial. The Army accused Dreyfus of additional charges based on false documents. Word of the military court's framing of Dreyfus and of an attendant cover-up began to spread, chiefly owing to J'accuse, a vehement open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898 by the notable writer Émile Zola. Activists put pressure on the government to reopen the case.

In 1899, Dreyfus was returned to France for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus (now called "Dreyfusards"), such as Anatole France, Henri Poincaré and Georges Clemenceau, and those who condemned him (the anti-Dreyfusards), such as Édouard Drumont, the director and publisher of the antisemitic newspaper La Libre Parole. The new trial resulted in another conviction and a 10-year sentence but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free.

Eventually all the accusations against Alfred Dreyfus were demonstrated to be baseless. In 1906 Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. He served during the whole of World War I ending his service with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.


1897 - 1910

Franz Joseph the emperor tried to prevent Karl Lueger to be mayor of Vienna because of his fear that Lueger would undermine the idea of equality for all citizens...

Bloody Sunday

January 22, 1905

Bloody Sunday (Russian: Крова́вое воскресе́нье, IPA: [krɐˈvavəjə vəskrʲɪˈsʲenʲjə]) was the name that came to be given to the events of 22 January [O.S. 9 January] 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, where unarmed demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were fired upon by soldiers of the Imperial Guard when approaching the city center and the Winter Palace from several gathering points. The shooting did not occur in the Palace Square. Bloody Sunday was an event with grave consequences for the Tsarist regime, as the disregard for ordinary people shown by the reaction of the authorities undermined support for the state. The events that occurred on this Sunday have been assessed by historians, including Lionel Kochan in his book Russia in Revolution 1890-1918, to be one of the key events which led to the Russian Revolution of 1917

H. Vienna

February 1908 - May 1913


Hitler was genuinely influenced in Vienna by two political movements. The first was the German racist nationalism propagated by the Upper Austrian Pan-German politician Georg von Schönerer. The second key influence was that of Karl Lueger, Mayor of Vienna from 1897 to his death in 1910.

Still in power when Hitler arrived in Vienna, Lueger promoted an antisemitism that was more practical and organizational than ideological. Nevertheless, it reinforced anti-Jewish stereotypes and cast Jews as enemies of the German middle and lower classes. Finally, unlike Schönerer, who was always more comfortable with the elitist nationalism of the student fraternities, Lueger was comfortable with big city crowds and knew how to channel their protest into political gain. Hitler drew his ideology in large part from Schönerer, but his strategy and tactics from Lueger.


July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918


September 1, 1939 - September 2, 1945

Germany surrendered May 9, 1945