Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/153

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141
ANTI-SEMITISM

the fact that of late years Rumania had become a sort of annexe of the Triple Alliance, it was found impossible to induce the signatories of the treaty of Berlin to take action to compel the state to fulfil its obligations under that treaty.

In Austria-Hungary the anti-Semitic impulses came almost simultaneously from the North and East. Austria-Hungary.Already in the 'seventies the doctrinaire anti-Semitism of Berlin had found an echo in Budapest. Two members of the diet, Victor Istoczy and Geza Onody, together with a publicist named Georg Marczianyi, busied themselves in making known the doctrine of Marr in Hungary. Marczianyi, who translated the German Judeophobe pamphlets into Magyar, and the Magyar works of Onody into German, was the chief medium between the northern and southern schools. In 1880 Istoczy tried to establish a "Nichtjuden Bund" in Hungary, with statutes literally translated from those of the German anti-Semitic league. The movement, however, made no progress, owing to the stalwart Liberalism of the predominant political parties, and of the national principles inherited from the revolution of 1848. The large part played by the Jews in that struggle, and the fruitful patriotism with which they had worked for the political and economic progress of the country, had created, too, a strong claim on the gratitude of the best elements in the nation. Nevertheless, among the ultramontane clergy, the higher aristocracy, the ill-paid minor officials, and the ignorant peasantry, the seeds of a tacit anti-Semitism were latent. It was probably the aversion of the nobility from anything in the nature of a demagogic agitation which for a time prevented these seeds from germinating. The news of the uprising in Russia and the appearance of Jewish refugees on the frontier, had the effect of giving a certain prominence to the agitation of Istoczy and Onody and of exciting the rural communities, but it did not succeed in impressing the public with the pseudo-scientific doctrines of the new anti-Semitism. It was not until the agitators resorted to the Blood Accusation—that never-failing decoy of obscurantism and superstition—that Hungary took a definite place in the anti-Semitic movement. The outbreak was short and fortunately bloodless, but while it lasted its scandals shocked the whole of Europe.

Dr August Rohling, professor of Hebrew at the university of Prague, a Roman Catholic theologian of high position but dubious learning, had for some years assisted the Hungarian anti-Semites with réchauffés of Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum (Frankfurt a/M. 1700). In 1881 he made a solemn deposition before the Supreme Court accusing the Jews of being bound by their law to work the moral and physical ruin of non-Jews. He followed this up with an offer to depose on oath that the murder of Christians for ritual purposes was a doctrine secretly taught among Jews. Professor Delitzsch and other eminent Hebraists, both Christian and Jewish, exposed and denounced the ignorance and malevolence of Rohling, but were unable to stem the mischief he was causing. In April 1882 a Christian girl named Esther Sobymossi was missed from the Hungarian village of Tisza Eszlar, where a small community of Jews were settled. The rumour got abroad that she had been kidnapped and murdered by the Jews, but it remained the burden of idle gossip, and gave rise to neither judicial complaint nor public disorders. At this moment the question of the Bosnian Pacification credits was before the diet. The unpopularity of the task assumed by Austria-Hungary, under the treaty of Berlin, which was calculated to strengthen the disaffected Croat element in the empire, had reduced the government majority to very small proportions, and all the reactionary factions in the country were accordingly in arms. The government was violently and unscrupulously attacked on all sides. On the 23rd of May there was a debate in the diet when M. Onody, in an incendiary harangue, told the story of the missing girl at Tisza Eszlar, and accused ministers of criminal indulgence to races alien to the national spirit. In the then excited state of the public mind on the Croat question, the manœuvre was adroitly conceived. The government fell into the trap, and treated the story with lofty disdain. Thereupon the anti-Semites set to work on the case, and M. Joseph Bary, the magistrate at Nyiregyhaza, and anoted anti-Semite, was induced to go to Tisza Eszlar and institute an inquiry. All the anti-liberal elements in the country now became banded together in this effort to discredit the liberal government, and for the first time the Hungarian anti-Semites found themselves at the head of powerful party. Fifteen Jews were arrested and thrown into prison. No pains were spared in preparing the case for trial. Perjury and even forgery were freely resorted to. The son of one of the accused, a boy of fourteen, was taken into custody by the police, and by threats and cajoleries prevailed upon to give evidence for the prosecution. He was elaborately coached for the terrible rôle he was to play. The trial opened at Nyiregyhaza on the 19th of June, and lasted till the 3rd of August. It was one of the most dramatic causes célèbres of the century. Under the brilliant cross-examination of the advocates for the defence the whole of the shocking conspiracy was gradually exposed. The public prosecutor thereupon withdrew from the case, and the four judges—the chief of whom held strong anti-Semitic opinions—unanimously acquitted all the prisoners. The case proved the death-blow of Hungarian anti-Semitism. Although another phase of the Jewish question, which will be referred to presently, had still to occupy the public mind, the shame brought on the nation by the Tisza Eszlar conspiracy effectually prevented the anti-Semites from raising their voices with any effect again.

Meanwhile a more formidable and complicated outburst was preparing in Austria itself. Here the lines of the German agitation were closely followed, but with far more dramatic results. It was exclusively political—that is to say, it appealed to anti-Jewish prejudices for party purposes while it sought to rehabilitate them on a pseudo-scientific basis, racial and economic. At first it was confined to sporadic pamphleteers. By their side there gradually grew up a school of Christian Socialists, recruited from the ultra-Clericals, for the study and application of the doctrines preached at Mainz by Archbishop Ketteler. This constituted a complete Austrian analogue to the Evangelical-Socialist movement started in Germany by Herr Stöcker. For some years the two movements remained distinct, but signs of approximation were early visible. Thus one of the first complaints of the anti-Semites was that the Jews were becoming masters of the soil. This found an echo in the agrarian principles of the Christian Socialists, as expounded by Rudolph Meyer, in which individualism in landed property was admitted on the condition that the landowners were "the families of the nation" and not "cosmopolitan financiers." A further indication of anti-Semitism is found in a speech delivered in 1878 by Prince Alois von Liechtenstein (b. 1846), the most prominent disciple of Rudolph Meyer, who denounced the national debt as a tribute paid by the state to cosmopolitan rentiers (Nitti, Catholic Socialism, pp. 200, 201, 211, 216). The growing disorder in parliament, due to the bitter struggle between the German and Czech parties, served to bring anti-Semitism into the field of practical politics. Since 1867 the German Liberals had been in power. They had made enemies of the Clericals by tampering with the concordat, and they had split up their own party by the federalist policy adopted by Count Taaffe. The Radical secessionists in their turn found it difficult to agree, and an ultra-national German wing formed itself into a separate party under the leadership of Ritter von Schönerer (b. 1842), a Radical nationalist of the most violent type. In 1882 two anti-Semitic leagues had been founded in Vienna, and to these the Radical nationalists now appealed for support. The growing importance of the party led the premier, Count Taaffe, to angle for the support of the Clericals by accepting a portion of the Christian Socialist programme. The hostility this excited in the liberal press, largely written by Jews, served to bring the feudal Christian Socialists and Radical anti-Semites together. In 1891 these strangely assorted factions became consolidated, and during the elections of that year Prince Liechtenstein came forward as an anti-Semitic candidate and the acknowledged leader of the party. The elections resulted in the return of fifteen anti-Semites to the Reichsrath, chiefly from Vienna.

Although Prince Liechtenstein and the bulk of the Christian