Road named after anti-Jewish mayor gets makeover

By Jennifer Lipman, April 23, 2012

An Austrian road named after Vienna's notoriously antisemitic former mayor is to be renamed, in a move that has been hailed as a positive step by Jewish organisations.

Karl Lueger, who ran the city from 1897 until his death in 1910, was a populist figure who drove campaigns against the city's Jewish community during his time in office and was considered to have inspired the young Adolf Hitler.

Twenty-four years after his death, the city's authorities decided to name an area of the Ring Boulevard in the city centre in his honour.

But in a bid to confront its past, the road will now be known as University Ring.

The decision has been welcomed, not least by academics at the Vienna University, which is located on that section of the road.

Oskar Deutsch, who leads Austria's Jewish community, said it was an appropriate step, given that "antisemitic verbal incitement by politicians like Karl Lueger paved the way for the racial antisemitism of the Nazis".

Members of Austria's far-right Freedom Party condemned the move as a scandal and an insult to an "excellent" mayor.

Last updated: 4:11pm, April 23 2012