The Jewish youth of Austria make a daring revenge on the Hitler Brownshirt youth who killed a Jewish boy; the respite was ever so short…

5 min

Yaakov Bar Nahman

Posted on 07.12.10

Solomon’s Trains, Part 10
Traweet weteweet weeeweet. “Ahhhh there’s a nightingale singing its pretty song in the old oak tree changing its leaves to autumn’s golden orange. Sing my fine feathered songster. We all need the joy and sweetness of your melodies.”
Though it was a bright autumn afternoon Moshe knew that the beginning of winter’s deep snows were only a few weeks away. Oho, winter snow in Vienna … The Vienna Tech High School building, as all other schools and many factories and business buildings, had a ground level entrance for summer and a second floor entrance for winter. In winter the snow was so deep that the ground floor was totally submerged in the meters thick white cold blanket. In those months the students and staff would come in on skis. Moshe was already doing maintenance treatment on his Kneissl cross country skis and boots to prepare them well in time.
Sitting on a wooden bole near the edge of the porch, surrounded by a multicolored carpet of fallen oak leaves, he leaned the skis up, was oiling the wood, waxing the soles well, and making sure all was in good working order. Oiling the leather boots, replacing the rawhide laces was all part of yearly up keep.
Hmm, “Come to think of it I’d better check if these still fit me. Ooopf not quite. I’ve grown during the year. So I’ll give these to little brother Hal & get new ones my size. I’ll go to cousin Ignatz’s father’s shop. He’ll give me good boots without stealing me blind like that Nazi Zapf would.”
Tereeweewee tweetrewaawee teerteerereee… quaeeee… The nightingale fluttered off hurriedly. ”Eh what got him upset?”
Moshe’s question was soon answered as Rudi Mueller came bounding up the path. “Moshe Moshe!” They’ve thrown Harry Klein from the third story window of the school!”
Rudi, though fit and sportive was red faced and puffing from the run.
The ski boots and the shoe wax made a loud thunk on the wooden porch floor as Moshe dropped them. “What? Who, those Brown Shirt Hitler-Jugend again?” (The Hitler Jugend was a juvenile training organization for the infamous SA. They wore the same Brown Shirt uniforms.)
Rudi still panting from the uphill mile long run puffed out, “Yes – huff – but the ‘heroes’ – huff – have run away already. It was Harry’s turn to clean up the wood shop after classes and they waited till the building was empty except for the janitor. Avi Gross was bicycling nearby and heard the screams as Harry plummeted down. By the time he got to the school he saw four of them in uniform running away from the building. He ran into the office, which thank God was not locked, and called for an ambulance.”
“We’ll get them tomorrow. Find me the names of the four and who is the head of the group that did it. It’ll bet you a Crème Tort it’s Steiner again.”
“Ah, I hear the ambulance finally coming, they took long enough. I hope Harry will live.”
The next morning at Harry’s funeral Rudi brought the list to Moshe. “Here’s the list Avi gave me. I think you’ll recognize the names.” As he perused the list Moshe’s young brow furrowed and his quick brown eyes blazed. “Them again, and like I thought Steiner’s nephew, Hans, at the head as usual. We’re going to do this right this time. That group usually hangs out by the metal shop on the east side of the fourth floor. Very appropriate for what we need to do. Rudi get crew 1 together and meet me at the north stair case fourth floor 4:10 in the afternoon. That is when all the classes for the day are done, and they have their planning sessions. The janitor will not be there at the time for sure. Neither will be any the school staff. Avi get crew 3 together at the south stair and wait near the corner to the east corridor. Wait for my whistle. I want Steiner in our hands. Have crews 2 and 5 waiting outside the building to take care of the others.”
That afternoon seven Jewish teenage boys entered “forbidden territory” The fourth floor of the Vienna Tech was “Judenrein” (free and clean of Jews). Any Jew venturing to show his face there could expect a very unpleasant “welcome” with considerable question of his survival for the transgression.
The fourth floor’s walls were covered with flags and placards of the Nazi Party and the Hitler Jugend. Normally no one, not even school personnel, was allowed on the floor without explicit permission of the Hilter Jugend’s command. But that “minor detail” did not bother the boys of Vienna’s Judische Verteidigung Groupe (Jewish Defense Group), or as known otherwise as The Juden Bundt. At the appointed time Moshe, peeking around the corner of the hallway whispered to Rudi. “Here they are, six of them coming out of the metal shop and they’re in uniform. Careful they have long knives that it seems they made in the metal shop forges. Twee weet.”
The two crews of three youths each plus Moshe started quietly converging on the Brown Shirt gang in a pincer tactic. Quietly treading the old school building’s hallway, strode the Jewish youths bent on avenging Harry’s murder and hopefully to put an end to the terror their classmates and neighbors had been suffering at the hands of the Hitler Jugend gang for over a year. Those six were only a small part of the gang, but they were the leaders. The Nazi youths were so busy talking over their vicious plans that they did not notice the approaching Jews until there were only a couple meters between the groups.
“Yo! Jewish dogs! This is floor is our territory of the school building. In the name of the Fuehrer I order you to get out or suffer the consequences of your crime.” When they saw that these Jews were not about to run off like rabbits at command, their leader, Hans Steiner, shouted out “Sieg Heil!” and they pulled their knives to attack the Jews.
Whoooosshhhhhhh whackkk, from apparently nowhere whips made of steel springs wound around the arms of the Nazi youths dropping their now useless long knives clattering to the floor. The Brown Shirt ‘heroes’ turned to run.
“Grab Steiner, don’t let him get away!” Shouted Moshe.
“No no let me go, I’ve done nothing. I did not throw your friend from the window. Please let me go. Kurt, Fritz, Friedrich where are you. You cowards have left me in the hands of the Jews, I’ll turn you all in to the Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)! I am your Hauptmann (Captain) you must obey me! – Filthy Jew let me go!”
Well the gang’s Hauptmann did not obey him. Rather they ran like rabbits down the stairs to escape whatever fate might await them at the hands of Moshe and his six comrades. But they had a surprise waiting for them. While Fritz, Friedrich, Kurt and the others were catching a quick beating at the school exit, three of the Jewish boys were holding on tight to their captive Hitler Jugend capatin. “Heh heh look at this Brown Shirt worm wiggle and squirm.”
“Bring him close to the window.” Then Moshe turned and spoke to the Hitler JugendCaptain in a hard tense tone. “Steiner, yesterday you had your gang throw a Jewish boy from the third story window. This morning was his funeral.”
“Juden Schveinhundt (Jewish pig-dog) I command you to let me go in the name of the Fuehrer!”
“As you wish commander.” “Boys do as he says, let him go, …. Here’s for Harry Klein! Am Yisrael Chai!”
By that time the fight at the exit was done. Moshe and his crews were out of the building and long gone well before the police came to investigate the incident of the local Hitler-Jugendgang captain’s unfortunate fall from the fourth floor window…
They rejoined at the synagogue just in time for the remainder of afternoon services. Avi whispered to Moti, “Maybe we’ll have some peace for a while now.”
If anyone asked of their whereabouts at the time of the incident they had an alibi. No one ever asked.
As for peace … yes the Brown Shirt was quiet for a good while, but the Jews of Austria were to learn all too harshly that peace for them was not to be had.
To be continued

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