Vienna, Mar. 24 (JTA) – Jews today donned top hats and holiday garb to carry out enforced street-sweeping, while the head of the Jewish Veterans' Legion shamed Nazi storm troopers into retiring when he appeared in general's uniform and medals for the work.
Albert Smolenskin, noted Jewish mathematician and actuary, committed suicide with his "Aryan" wife at a holiday resort at Kobenzl. Smolenskin leaped into the Danube, while his wife slashed her wrists. They faced separation under impending application of the Nuremberg racial laws.
Dr. Armand Kaminka, 75-year-old renowned rabbi and Hebrew scholar was arrested. He is Docent of the Maimonides Institute and secretary of the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Vienna.
Meanwhile, an unexplained order was issued today for the removal of Jewish identification signs from shops. Nazis went from door to door ordering the removal, even in the Jewish quarters, where some signs were so large they hid the window displays. Various interpretations of the action were current, but informed quarters believed it was caused by Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, president of the Reichsbank, who is known to oppose extremist anti-Semitic activities. By nightfall all the signs had been removed, though signs identifying "Aryan" shops remained.
Americans here were interested to learn that the Singer Sewing Machine Co. had decorated its window with a large picture of Chancellor Adolf Hitler and several large swastika flags. Most foreign shops do not display any political emblems.
Nazi storm troopers called at the home of General von Sommer, head of the Jewish veterans and a leading monarchist, to summon him for street-cleaning work. Asking permission to change his clothes, he appeared in full general's uniform with all his medals and announced he was ready to proceed. the brown shirts, apparently unwilling to degrade the uniform, saluted and retired.
In 1934, General von Sommer offered the services of Jewish war veterans to the Dollfuss Government against the Nazis and issued a proclamation calling on Jewish patriots to support restoration of the Hapsburges to the Austrian throne.
Posters displayed all over the city carry the proclamation making the Nuremberg race and citizenship laws of 1935 the basis for exclusion of Jews from the April 10 plebiscite on Anschluss. They state that all persons are barred from voting who, 1) have at least three full-blooded Jewish grandparents, and 2) "Mischlinge" (persons of mixed blood) if they belonged to the Jewish Community prior to Sept. 16, 1935, on which date the Nuremberg laws were promulgated, or if they joined the Community subsequently, or if they were married to Jews on that date or subsequently.
Yesterday in a civil court, an "Aryan" lawyer for the first time raised the question whether a Jewish lawyer was permitted to practice there. (Jewish attorneys have been barred from the criminal courts.) The judge ruled, however, that the question was out of order.
So desperate is the condition of the Vienna Jews that the most fantastic rumors are gaining circulation, raising hopes of aid which are inevitably dashed by the next crop of rumors.