Schoenerer, Georg von°

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SCHOENERER, GEORG VON ° (1842–1921), Austrian antisemitic politician. Schoenerer, the son of a railway entrepreneur and nobleman, was elected to parliament (Reichs rat) in 1873 after making a name for himself as an energetic estate owner who improved the economic and social lot of the peasants. There he joined the left-wing, radical-democrat nationalists and repeatedly shocked the house with his outspoken anticlericalism, anti-Hapsburg views, and demagoguery. In 1878 he began to air opinions about the allegedly harmful Jewish plutocracy and its domination of the press, but his opposition to the admission of Jewish refugees from Russian pogroms in 1882 was unsuccessful. He was supported by Heinrich *Friedjung and Victor *Adler, who helped him draft the popular 11-point Linz program (which combined Prussian-oriented nationalism, social reform, and semi-socialistic measures). Schoenerer added a twelfth point in 1885: "In order to realize these reforms, the removal of Jewish influence from all fields of public life is indispensable." Despite his continuing popularity, Schoenerer was never able to forge a stable party organization and was constantly causing rifts in his ranks. On March 8, 1888, after a drinking bout, he led an assault on the offices of the Neues Wiener Tageblatt, which he considered Jewish-owned, for prematurely announcing the decease of Emperor William i of Germany. Despite the support of K. *Lueger and others, he was stripped of his title, deprived of his seat for five years, and imprisoned. He returned to parliament in 1897 with five supporters, and in 1901 his party obtained 21 seats. However, his party soon distintegrated and Austrian antisemites came to prefer Lueger's clerical and pro-Hapsburg *Christian Social Party.

Schoenerer's ambitions were thwarted by his own intransigence, self-glorification, and despotic manner, which left him isolated politically. His long-term significance for the rise of Nazism was decisive. He turned to racism, acclaiming Karl Eugen *Duehring and other racists, and helped spread the "Voelkische Weltanschauung." Successful in enlisting the support of various and often conflicting social strata, he gained main adherents from the small-town lower-middle class and was extremely popular with the Burschenschaften (see *Students' Associations, German), who formed his bodyguard, uniting these elements with his vulgar slogan: What the Jew believes is irrelevant, the piggish mess lies in the race. ("Was der Jude glaubt, ist einerlei, In der Rasse liegt die Schweinerei").

He was much admired by the Nazis, who, immediately after the Anschluss, named a street in the Jewish section of Vienna for him; they also promoted Eduard Pichl's study on him and, in 1942, held a memorial exhibition in Vienna. Schoenerer has importance for historians because he was the first to exploit antisemitism in changing the direction of foreign policy and disrupting the internal structure of the state, techniques later closely copied by Nazism.


F. Bilger, in: Neue Oesterreischische Biographie, (1938), 76–87 (incl. bibl.); O. Karbach, in: jsos, 7 (1945), 3–30; D. van Arkel, "Anti-semitism in Austria" (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Leiden University, 1966); C.E. Schorske, in: The Journals of Modern History, 39 (1967), 343ff. add. bibliography: A.G. Whiteside, The Socialism of Fools. Georg Ritter von Schoenerer… (1975), index; P. Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (1988), index; M. Wladika, Hitlers Vaetergeneration… (2005).

[Henry Wasserman /

Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]