An Austrian far-right politician has said he wants to register Jews, in a chilling echo of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
The disturbing plan was unveiled by Gottfried Waldhausl, the minister in charge of animal welfare for the populist conservative Freedom Party of Austria.
He said he wanted to create a registry that would allow Jewish citizens to buy only kosher meat, thereby reducing the number of animals slaughtered every year.
Followers of Judaism are only allowed to eat meat that comes from beasts that have had their throats cut in a ritual slaughter.
According to Waldhausl, who is a local minister in the state of Lower Austria, Jews would only be allowed to buy kosher meat if they are officially registered and granted a special permit.
The state of Lower Austria, which has a rich farming and livestock tradition, encircles the capital of Vienna, where the vast majority of Austrian Jews live.
Waldhausl said that only registered Jews who actually live in the state should get local kosher meat as he hopes to curb exports to Vienna and places farther away.
He said: “We are checking whether the meat requirement can be linked to the place of residence.”
“It is difficult to see why the Viennese travel to Lower Austria and have thousands of animals slaughtered here.”
He added: “We are not here in Lower Austria to provide meat to the Viennese.”
Jewish Cultural Community president Oskar Deutsch said he is concerned about the attacks on the practice of providing kosher meat and a potential registration of Jews.
Deutsch said it would mean that a list of Jews would be compiled “like a negative Aryan clause,” referring to anti-Semitic laws implemented in the country after the Austrian-born Hitler annexed the country in 1938.
However, the controversial idea was quickly shot down by the state’s biggest party, the conservative Austrian People’s Party.
Lower Austria OVP chief Klaus Schneeberger said: “The regulations regarding slaughtering are regulated in the Animal Welfare Act of the Federal Government.”
He said only the enforcement of this law is the responsibility of the federal states and added that “nobody would, of course, need to register to buy kosher meat.”
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Austrian pol wants to make Jews register to buy kosher meat