Pernerstorfer, Engelbert°

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PERNERSTORFER, ENGELBERT ° (1850–1918), leader of the Austrian Social Democratic Party. Pernerstorfer's attitude toward the Jewish question and antisemitism was peculiarly ambivalent: this was in part to blame for the failure of the Austrian Social Democrats to come to grips with the Jewish question in his time. Pernerstorfer was a school friend of Victor *Adler and godfather at the baptism of the then seven-yearold Friedrich *Adler. He started his public career as editor of Georg von *Schoenerer's periodical, but parted with him in 1883 because of the latter's virulent antisemitism. Although he was considered by his contemporaries to have antisemitic inclinations, Pernerstorfer vigorously opposed political antisemitism. His positive attitude toward Zionism stemmed from his general conception of nationality and his opposition to the cosmopolitanism professed by his Jewish colleagues in the Social Democratic leadership, among them Robert Danneberg; Pernerstorfer averred that the left wing of the party was all Jewish. In 1916 he published an article in Martin Buber's monthly Der *Jude, in which he favored national autonomy for East European Jewry, and stated that the Central Powers would profit from a Jewish national home in Palestine. National Socialist propaganda later portrayed Pernerstorfer as a full-scale antisemite.


E. Silberner, Sozialisten zur Judenfrage (1962), 237–40, bibl. 344–7; idem, in: hj, 13 (1951), 122–3, 129–33; 15 (1953), 15; A. Gerlach, Der Einfluss der Juden in der oesterreichischen Sozialdemokratie (1939, national-socialistic); J. Braunthal, Victor und Friedrich Adler (1965), index; idem, In Search for the Millennium (1945); Neue Oesterreichische Biographie, 2 (1925), 97–116.

[Meir Lamed]