Harvest of Despair



b. 25 December 1875, Neugerschrei, Northern Bohemia, d. 9 October 1955, Vienna.

Innitzer was the Archbishop of Vienna and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. The son of factory worker, he became a priest in 1902, received his doctorate in theology in 1906, and from 1929 to 1930 served as Minister of Social Affairs in the Austrian government of Chancellor Johann Schober. In 1932 he became Archbishop of Vienna.

In his role as Archbishop of Vienna, Innitzer attempted to organize relief for the starving peasantry during the Ukrainian Famine. However, as the Soviet government vehemently denied the existence of any Famine on its territory, Innitzer was not allowed to provide any aid.

Innitzer’s role in Austrian history remains controversial, as the Archbishop supported the 1938 Anschluss with Germany. However, soon after the Anschluss, when the Nazi assault on the Catholic Church began, Innitzer became critical of the regime – in October 1938 he stated in a sermon “There is just one Fuhrer – Jesus Christ.” During the war, Innitzer was critical of the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis, but openly supported the war effort against the USSR. 

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