Members of the League of German Girls wave Nazi flags in support of the German annexation of Austria in Vienna, Austria, March 1938 (Photo courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Seventy-five years after the Nazi invasion and occupation of Austria, a newspaper in country has asked citizens about their opinion of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi annexation during World War II. Jewish leaders who have been raising the alarm about anti-Semitism in Austria say the results were not surprising.
Forty-two percent said life was not all bad under Hitler, while 61 percent said they would be interested in a strong-armed leader who did not have to deal with democratic challenges like political opponents and elections. The survey, published this weekend, is getting prominent play in the media in Israel, which is home to some 250,000 Holocaust survivors. That’s half the number of survivors who arrived in the country since Israel was founded in 1948.
Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary next week of Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, the Market Institut poll for newspaper Der Standard found 61 per cent of respondents, mostly the elderly, liked the idea of a strong man as leader.
Many Austrians wanted a union, or Anschluss , with Germany in 1938. A few Austrians put up resistance that grew over time.
In the latest poll, 53 per cent thought the Anschluss was voluntary and 46 per cent saw Austria as a victim. Forty-two per cent said “not everything was bad under Hitler” while 57 per cent saw no good aspects to the Hitler era. Read More