Former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Under Fire for Anti-Semitic Dedication
June 5, 2020
According to the Jerusalem Post, a former vice-chancellor of Austria is coming under fire for a recently discovered dedication he wrote in the 1990s for a book that is commonly labeled as anti-Semitic.
Heinz-Christian Strache, the Austrian in question, wrote a dedication in a 1941 book titled “Jewish Confessions from all Times and Lands.” The book was written by Jonak von Freyenwald and was once published in a Nazi propaganda tabloid called Der Stürmer during the Second World War. Strache claimed to not remember writing the dedication, and rejected anti-Semitism more broadly, in a statement.
Investigative journalism and the alleged content of Strache’s dedication point to an accusation of Jews unjustly seeking power. The Suddeutsche Zeitung, the publication that first broke the story, consulted with a handwriting expert who concluded that they were “99.99 percent certain” that the dedication was written by Strache. Beyond the anti-Semitic nature of the book, the alleged text of Strache’s dedication itself raises further concerns of anti-Semitism.
The JTA, reports that Strache labeled Jews as “opponents” and spoke of their “lust for power.” Strache is also accused of referring to a “power-hungry Jewish world view.” The Algemeiner also alleges that Strache is no stranger to allegations of anti-Semitism. He was condemned by the Austrian Jewish community in 2012 for posting an anti-Semitic cartoon on Facebook, which depicted a crooked-nosed overweight man wearing Star of David cufflinks. Strache has also been accused of taking part in activities facilitated by neo-Nazi paramilitary groups in the 1980s, which he denies.
Strache’s tenure in government concluded in 2019 over a corruption scandal in which he was accused of promising favors to a Russian businesswoman in exchange for support of his political party, the far-right Freedom Party (FPO). The scandal forced Strache to resign his position as vice chancellor and led to his expulsion from the FPO. When reacting to this latest scandal, Oskar Deutsch, the leader of the Israelite Community of Vienna, did not mince words.
Deutsch said that the book dedication was evidence that Strache’s “staunch hatred of Jewry, enriched by conspiracy theories, is neither an isolated incident nor a youthful sin.” With the alleged dedication being written so long ago, and Strache’s denial, it’s difficult to see the situation evolving without any additional evidence. It remains to be seen whether such evidence arises.