‘Weak’ Antisemitism in Interwar Vienna: New essay by Julia Secklehner

CRAACE researcher Julia Secklehner has published a new essay in the volume Visual Antisemitism in Central Europe edited by Jakub Hauser and Eva Janáčová.

Her book chapter ‘Simple Entertainment? Die Muskete and “Weak” Antisemitism in Interwar Vienna’ considers the impact of ‘weak’ antisemitism in the Viennese popular press between 1918 and 1938. It argues that, in addition to the aggressive rhetoric of right-wing forces, visual antisemitism in interwar Viennese satirical magazines was also permeated by softer undercurrents of Jewish stereotyping. Masked as light entertainment, these were perhaps less obvious than their aggressive counterparts, but nonetheless represented a dangerous aspect of popular campaigns to ostracise the Jewish population. Juxtaposing aggressive forms of antisemitism from the satirical magazine Der Kikeriki with ‘weak’ antisemitism in the humorous magazine Die Muskete, the article shows that the ‘othering’ of the Jewish population was widely asserted as a cultural fact in the popular entertainment press, and, particularly in its weaker forms, spanned all political and social lines.

Published in English by De Gruyter and in Czech by Artefactum, Visual Antisemitism in Central Europe: Imagery of Hatred deals with visual manifestations of antisemitism in Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day. The publication, which presents heretofore largely unknown materials, seeks responses from diverse perspectives to the question of the role of visuality in the development of antisemitic moods and political agendas that encouraged hatred towards Jews. The scope of visual anti-Judaism and antisemitism always was and still is very wide: from stereotypical depictions that can conceal an underlying message through humorous content, to clearly formulated assaults that aim to escalate animosity towards an imaginary collective enemy. The goal in both these cases is the exclusion of Jews from the majority society imagined as a monolithic whole, and the reification of a dividing line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. With its wide thematic and methodological range, this book offers a comprehensive image of the phenomenon of visual anti-Judaism and antisemitism and provides rich comparative material for the entire Central European region.


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