would send German troops into Austria. On the evening of
March 11, we listened to our chancellor announce his
resignation over the radio. A hysterically happy mob then
invaded the streets, breaking shop windows and harassing
shopkeepers. Lying low in Grinzing, I prayed all night for
my parents’ shop to be spared. But the crowd’s destructive
anger was far from blind; it targeted only Jewish-owned
stores. By dawn, German boots were crossing the border.
The chaos was an ideal pretext: order had to be restored.
The Austrians were no longer able to regulate themselves.
Neither France nor Britain tried to interpose. The Germans
penetrated Austria to cheers and flowers. We almost
begged them to come and save us from ourselves. Invaders
have never been more warmly greeted. And why shouldn’t
they have been? They brought hope of stability and
prosperity to a country on the brink of civil war and in a
deep and lasting depression. It hardly mattered that the
unrest had been fostered by the Nazis or that the economic
recovery was the first step in a horrifying grand design.
They offered an easy solution: “Death to the Jews.”
No one beyond a few misty-eyed dreamers like my father
could still be misled by the Nazis’ posturing. Hitler would
not stop at Austria or the Sudetenland. War was about to
break out in Europe. On March 12, 1938, the Austrians
welcomed the Ger- mans as if they were distant relatives
coming back into the fold. They might be a bit frightening,
but they carried armloads of gifts. The Germans organized
handouts of food to the neediest and promised to extend