HEIMWEHR (Ger. "home defense"), a paramilitary organization, closely connected with the *Christian Social Party in Austria. Founded in 1919 on a stridently anti-Marxist platform, its energies were directed mainly against its social democratic counterpart, the *Schutzbund. For this reason it enjoyed the support of such baptized Jews as Rudolf von Sieghardt, the governor of the national bank, and the arms manufacturer Fritz Mandel. There was even a Jewish unit in the late 1920s. In December 1929 Jewish group leaders declared that they could no longer participate because of growing antisemitism which the organization identified with anti-Marxism. In the Korneuburger Program (1930) the organization proclaimed its affiliation to fascism against democracy and parliamentarianism. The Heimwehr became the decisive factor in Austrian politics after the outlawing of the Social Democratic Party (1934). After the collapse of the "Pfrimer coup" in 1931 the Styrian branch of the Heimwehr formed a common front with the National Socialists against the Jews. The Heimwehr was responsible for many of the anti-Jewish riots of the period.
A. Diamant, Austrian Catholics and the First Republic (1960), index; P.G.J. Pulzer, in: J. Fraenkel (ed.), The Jews of Austria (1967), 439–42; L. Jedlicka, in: Journal of Contemporary History, 1 (1966), 127–44. add. bibliography: C.E. Edmondson, The Heimwehr and Austrian Politics (1978); G.R. Bell, The Austrian Heimwehr and the Diplomacy of Reaction in Central Euorpe 1930–1934 (1996); W. Wiltschegg, Die Heimwehr – Eine unwiderstehliche Volksbewegung? (1985); W. Chraska, Die Heimwehr und die Erste Republik Österreich (1981).
[Meir Lamed /
Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]