In the second week of December, three Jewish students were fined one hundred Euros apiece for waving Israeli flags at a pro-Palestinian demonstration at which “Death to the Jews” was chanted.

The fact that on the one hand, Palestinian supporters were allowed to chant such vitriolic hate, while on the other, Jews peacefully holding Israeli flags were fined, is especially significant since Austria’s history of anti-Semitism predates the Nazi era, in which they were complicit with the atrocities of the Nazi regime’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

As far back as the fifteenth century, Albert V ordered the imprisonment of all of the Jews in Austria. Two hundred ten Jews were burnt alive in public while the rest of the Jews in Austria were deported. Frederick the Third rescinded the deportation order in 1469, permitting Jews to return. Some Jews were deported again in the 17th century; there was even a law allowing only first-born children of Jews to marry.

In November 1938, the Kristallnacht pogroms triggered most of the synagogues in Vienna being destroyed, while thousands of Jews were arrested and deported to the Dachau or Buchenwald concentration camps. Systematic mass deportations from Vienna began in October 1941. Roughly 35,000 Jews were deported from Vienna to ghettos in eastern Europe, primarily Minsk, Riga, and Lodz; most of the Jews sent to Minsk and Riga were shot by the Einsatzgruppen.