362.1113/36: Telegram

The Chargé in Austria (Wiley) to the Secretary of State

197. Legation’s April 26, 1 p.m. to Berlin. Heller made an affidavit that on April 23rd he was twice forced to carry anti-Semitic placards once or twice at the point of gun though on each occasion he exhibited American passport. On the same day Anton Horky tenant of apartment in the house inherited by Heller from father in May 1937 demanded return of 1700 schillings premium allegedly paid for apartment to Heller’s father 6 years previously. Horky threatened to bring matter to the attention of National Socialist Party if payment not made by April 26th. Evening April 25th Heller arrested by S. S. man and taken to S. A. headquarters Second District Vienna where 15 to 20 uniformed S. A. men gave him protracted and savage beating forcing him to sign an IOU for 1700 schillings payable to S. A. district leader not later than 2 o’clock p.m. April 26th.

Legation at once requested intervention Von Stein and the party political organization for Second District to prevent extortion and afford protection to Heller. In the meantime we gave him and wife asylum in the Legation. No satisfaction from the political organization, Stein expressed regret and stated he would take up the matter immediately with competent authorities.

At 6 o’clock p.m. having received no further information from Stein, inquiry was made whether Heller could return and remain at home in safety. An official of ex-German Legation replied that though it had taken up the matter urgently it could give no assurances of safety due to the “unusual conditions” in Vienna. I accordingly permitted Heller and wife to remain in the Legation where they still are. Am actively pursuing case this morning and will report further. Embassy at Berlin fully informed.

Newly appointed Reichs Kommissar for Austria Bürckel has returned to Vienna and ex-German Legation hopes that his authority may put an end to present “irregular situation”.93

  1. See telegram No. 205, April 29, noon, from the Chargé in Austria, p. 364.