Re: Austria and the Anschluss

by Jonah Goldberg

Nat – It’s also worth mentioning that not only were there lots of SS members of Austrian descent, Hitler was Austrian too.  The ironic thing about Austria’s nostalgia for Hitler is that it should contradict the mythology that it was the “first victim” of Nazi aggression, a canard that grew out of the demands of the early Cold War. This myth has always bothered me for a bunch of reasons. At least until the revelations about Kurt Waldheim, talking about Austria’s role was considered impolite. Meanwhile, the Italian people resisted the Holocaust far more than the Austrians did. But, as they were part of the Axis, you can at least understand where people are coming from when criticizing Italy. But what about Switzerland? To be sure, some Swiss banks behaved badly, but in recent years Switzerland’s armed neutrality during World War II has been cast as a great shame. Maybe the Swiss, surrounded by the Nazis could have done more. But at least they didn’t unfurl Nazi banners and throw a parade for the Germans. The Swiss didn’t round up their Jews the way the Austrians, the French and others did. 

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