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Poll Reveals Persistence, Vitality of Nazism in Austria

eHitler enters Austria

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COMMENT: A recent poll by an Aus­trian peri­od­i­cal revealed the degree of vital­ity that Nazism retains in that coun­try, once part of Hitler’s Third Reich.

Not only did respon­dents think that the Nazi Party would be elected today if it were legal­ized, but many expect renewed per­se­cu­tion of Jews in the near future.

Not sur­pris­ingly, many of those polled didn’t think that Hitler’s rule was all that bad.

“Over Half of Aus­tri­ans Think the Nazis Would Be Elected if the Party Was Read­mit­ted to Pol­i­tics” by Tony Pat­ter­son; The Inde­pen­dent [UK]; 3/10/2013.

EXCERPT: As Aus­tria pre­pares to mark the anniver­sary of its annex­a­tion by Nazi Ger­many, an opin­ion poll has shown that more than half of the pop­u­la­tion think it highly likely that the Nazis would be elected if they were read­mit­ted as a party.

A fur­ther 42 per cent agreed with the view that life “wasn’t all bad under the Nazis”, and 39 per cent said they thought a recur­rence of anti-Semitic per­se­cu­tion was likely in Austria.

The dis­turb­ing find­ings were con­tained in a poll con­ducted for the Vienna news­pa­per, “Der Stan­dard” in advance of Tuesday’s 75th anniver­sary of Austria’s Nazi annex­a­tion — a date which still counts as one of the most shame­ful and con­tro­ver­sial in the country’s his­tory.
Tens of thou­sands of Aus­tri­ans gave Adolf Hitler and his troops a rap­tur­ous wel­come when they invaded the coun­try unop­posed in March 1938.

Aus­tria fought World War II as part of Nazi Ger­many and many Aus­tri­ans helped run Nazi death camps. Yet for decades, post-war Aus­tria fre­quently per­pet­u­ated the myth that it was a vic­tim of Nazi oppres­sion. Der Stan­dard said its poll was designed to show how today’s Aus­tri­ans judged Nazi rule.

Neigh­bour­ing Germany’s pop­u­lar “Stern” mag­a­zine described the poll’s find­ings as shock­ing today. The poll also showed that 61 per cent of Aus­trian adults wanted to see a “strong man” in charge of gov­ern­ment, and 54 per cent said they thought it would be “highly likely” that the Nazis would win seats in they were allowed to take part in an election.

Some 46 per cent of those polled said they believed Aus­tria was a vic­tim of Nazi oppres­sion in 1938, while 61 per cent said they believed that “enough” had been done to reap­praise Austria’s Nazi past.

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