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COMMENT: A recent New York Times article about the Freedom Party’s ascent to becoming a coalition partner in the Austrian government noted the “fascist file seizure” that followed Austria’s domestic intelligence service’s refusal to turn over a list of infiltrators into far right organizations in Austria (part of the Third Reich during World War II.) We covered this topic in FTR #1016 .
The former head of that domestic intelligence service likened the raid to “Day‑X,” the time foreseen and heralded by Nazis as the occasion of their seizure of power.
At right is a picture of SS general Anton Reinthaler, the founder of the Freedom Party, begun as a vehicle for re-introducing Third Reich veterans into the Austrian political process.
This picture–worth at least 1,000 words–would indicate that “Day‑X” arrived some time ago.
As well as anyone, Sybille Geissler knows the threats from Austria’s far-right extremists, who in recent weeks have likened migrants to rats and blithely defended campaign material that evokes Nazi propaganda.
For over 12 years, she has led the anti-extremism unit of the domestic intelligence service, and recently testified in a parliamentary inquiry into whether the far right was trying to undermine her agency.
Her biggest challenge these days, her testimony suggests, is that the far right is part of her own government.
Shortly after the far-right Freedom Party joined the government 17 months ago, taking over the powerful Interior Ministry, the ministry’s top official asked Ms. Geissler and her boss to turn over the names of informants who had infiltrated the far-right scene.
They refused. Just weeks later, armed police burst into her office and carted away years’ worth of domestic files as well as intelligence from allied nations. . . .
. . . . In far-right circles, the vaunted day neo-Nazis take power in a putsch is heralded as “Day X.” For some, like Ms. Geissler, that day is less fantastical than it may seem.
“I have to honestly say, since I have been working in the far-right extremism area for a very long time and have a lot of information, my first thought was: This is it, it’s Day X,” she recalled in a parliamentary hearing last year, describing the raid. . . .