Re: [Cz-L] A Question!

From: iosif vaisman <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:47:51 -0400
To: cornel fleming <>
Reply-To: iosif vaisman <>


I don't think it is possible to describe issues of antisemitism in the
Austro-Hungarian army in simplistic black and white colors. There were
several major dichotomies, including experiences of assimilated vs.
more traditional Jews, geography and ethnic composition of specific
units, time period, etc. It is true that many Jewish soldiers and
officers did not experience much or any antisemitism, particularly in
the late years of the Empire, but many others did. Even during WWI,
when there was no overt antisemitism in the Austrian army, there were
cases of institutionalized discrimination and distrust against Jewish
soldiers, e.g., they were not allowed to serve as guards in the POW
camps. It is also important that despite the fact that a lot of Jews
fought on the frontlines and were overrepresented in the officer corps
(4% in the population, 8% of all officers), the antisemitism in the
Austrian society at large during the WWI hugely increased, including
antisemitism towards Jewish soldiers, who were accused of cowardice,
profiteering, etc. It is true that antisemitism was supressed in the
k.u.k. army, but antisemites remained. Among more than 10,000 Nazi
demonstrators in Vienna's Ringstrasse on August 13 and 17, 1925, who
shouted "Kill the Jews" and physically attacked Jews on the streets
and in the coffeehouses, many or even most were army veterans. Clearly
they did not become antisemites only after being discharged.

There is also ample anecdotal and literary evidence of antisemitism in
the army. An example which immediately comes to mind is Dr Max Demant
from Joseph Roth's "Radetzky March", who is killed in a duel after a
fellow officer screams at him "Yid". Feldkurat Otto Katz from "The
good soldier Schweik" is another, although more subtle example.

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Received on 2014-06-20 20:29:14

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