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Poll Reveals Persistence, Vitality of Nazism in 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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