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www.jta.at, Dec. 01, 1999

Augustin - Sept. 01, 2006

Fanpost [OpEd]

THE SWASTIKA-CONTROVERSY

The article entitled “When a Cross [Swastika] Still has its Hooks”, (1) which is based in part on an interview with me about the work of the Jewish Theater of Austria and its Nestroyhof Initiative, reaffirms Augustin’s commitment to independent reporting on issues of social consequence. I am, however, troubled by a few statements that were contributed by Polsterer family member Martin Gabriel and a sidekick who identifies himself as a “Jewish artist”. (2)

In one of the quotes, Mr. Gabriel accuses me of painting swastikas on the interior walls of a property of which he possesses 17 percent as a result of National Socialist conquest. (3) Until recently, all that was known about the numerous swastikas in the Nestroyhof was that I had petitioned in public for their removal for more than a year. They were discovered in June 2004 and – despite considerable public attention, including press conferences in 2004 and 2005, and the intervention of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office and the police – Mr. Gabriel did not remove them until late last year. (4)

As the devoted initiator of the campaign to restore the rightful status of the Nestroyhof as part of Austrian and Jewish cultural heritage, I am naturally troubled to see my name in print as the alleged manufacturer of swastikas. It is astounding that Mr. Gabriel would make such a claim without any form of evidence to support it and with the specific intention, moreover, of misleading the public. That he also refers to me as “paranoid” and even “degenerate”* (5) only adds insult to injury.

Meanwhile, in the same article, the “Jewish artist” accuses me of what he calls “inverse Fascism”. (6) Here again, I don’t see how it will be possible to support such a libelous allegation. Having worked on and off stage for decades as a steadfast and vocal advocate for intercultural acceptance, diversity, and renewal – in Vienna and overseas – it is appalling that someone would have the public believe that I am any kind of Fascist, “inverse” or otherwise.

Both Mr. Gabriel and the Jewish artist will now need to withdraw their remarks – unequivocally and without delay.

Warren Rosenzweig
Jewish Theater of Austria, www.jta.at
July 8, 2006

Augustin, Sept. 2006

(1) “Wenn ein Kreuz auch noch Haken hat” – Augustin, number 184, July 1, 2006.
(2) “An artist stands behind Martin Gabriel in this conflict…who describes himself as a Jewish artist” (“In diesem Konflikt stellt sich ein Künstler hinter Martin Gabriel...der sich selbst als jüdischer Künstler bezeichnet”) – ibid.
(3) “[Gabriel] accuses Rosenzweig of having painted the swastikas himself.” (“[Gabriel] beschuldigt Rosenzweig, die Hakenkreuze selbst gemalt zu haben.” – ibid.
(4) “Concerning his neglect, Gabriel explains that it is dark in the basement.” (“Gabriel erklärt seine Untätigkeit dadurch, dass es im Keller eben dunkel sei.”) – ibid.
(5) “[Gabriel describes Rosenzweig,] among other insults, as ‘paranoid’ and ‘degenerate’” (“[Gabriel bezeichnet Rosenzweig] neben anderen Untergriffen als ‘paranoid’ and ‘abartig’”) – ibid.
(6) “[He] accuses Rosenzweig of ‘inverse Fascism’” (“[Er] bezichtigt Rosenzweig des ‘umgekehrten Faschismus’”) – ibid.

*In German, Gabriel is quoted using the word "abartig" (translated above as "degenerate"). This is a highly pejorative and seldom used term that was coined by the Nazis to mean "degenerate," "perverted," "deviant" (especially sexually), "abnormal" (physically or socially), or to identify homosexuals. The adjective "abartig" is also related to the noun "Entartung" ("degeneration") and the term "entartete Kunst" ("degenerate art"), which was used by the Nazis to describe banned (modern) art that was designated as "un-German," "Jewish," "sick," "Bolshevist," etc..
(JTA)

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