Forced Emigration of the Jews of Burgenland: A Test Case
The policy of forced emigration as implemented first in Burgenland and then in other parts of Austria was an important part of the development Nazi anti-Jewish policy that ended in the destruction of European Jewry. It represented a turning point in the “moderate” policy towards Jews 1933-1938 and the legal status given them in the Nuremberg Laws. All aspects of anti-Jewish policy that had been carried out before in Germany secretly or behind a façade were here carried out openly, energetically, and ruthlessly. Senior Nazis, such as Göring and Heydrich, regarded the expulsion of the Jews of Burgenland as a success. They attributed the success to cooperation with local officials. The comments and actions of the local Nazi leader, Tobias Portschy, reflect his initiative in persecuting the Jews. His declaration that the goal of making Burgenlad Judenrein had been achieved is an expression of the clear policy guidelines from above that the Jews must leave the Third Reich and Europe. Thus, the expulsion of the Jews from Burgenland reflects a combination of local initiative and superior orders.