The survey was carried out ahead of the 75th anniversary of thecountry’s annexation by the Nazi Germany, the Anschluss, andincluded 502 people.Fifty-seven per cent of respondents believed that “there wasnothing positive about the Hitler era”.However, 61 per cent of respondents indicated that they wanted a”strong leader” at the head of Austria.That was in fact more than in previous polls, the newspaper DerStandard reported. A similar survey in 2008 found just a fifth ofAustrians could imagine having “a strong leader who does nothave to worry about a parliament or elections.”Also, 54 per cent – most of them young and well-educated – wereof the opinion that if there was no legislation prohibiting theneo-Nazi parties, they would succeed in elections.Older participants in the survey strictly opposed the idea,which, according to historians, is logical.”It’s a normal process that topics are no longer consideredhot after two or three generations,” Oliver Rathkolb at theUniversity of Vienna told Der Standard.Finally, 61 per cent indicated that they thought the country’sNazi past had been adequately dealt with, while 39 per centdisagreed with that statement.The opinions remain similarly divided when it comes to thecompensation of Nazi victims. 57 per cent of respondents thoughtthat “the victims of this injustice or their descendants havebeen adequately compensated”, whereas 42 per cent believed thatwasn’t the case.On March 12, 1938, Hitler’s troops entered Austria, and werewelcomed by many who supported his ideology at the time. In thelatest poll, 53 per cent thought the Anschluss was voluntary and 46per cent saw Austria as a victim of the unification.As for the present political situation in the country,right-wing nationalist parties have often triumphed in Austria,even since World War II. In January, the leader of Vienna’s JewishCommunity said the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to hisoffice had doubled in the previous year.The Simon Wiesenthal Center regularly grades Austria among itslowest-scoring countries in terms of prosecuting Nazi warcriminals.
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