Franz Olah

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franz Olah (born March 13, 1910 as Franz Ferdinand Glück in Vienna , † September 4, 2009 in Baden ) was an Austrian politician . Among other things, he was Interior Minister and President of the Austrian Federation of Trade Unions (ÖGB).


Franz Olah grew up in Vienna, Ljubljana and Budapest as the son of a non-commissioned officer. He learned the profession of piano maker at Bösendorfer in Wiener Neustadt and in 1926 joined the Socialist Youth . During the Great Depression , he became unemployed and devoted himself to social work . He was the home manager of the Youth in Need and Youth at Work campaigns . In 1929 he became the SPÖ's political confidante in Vienna- Hernals .

He served political prison sentences in 1933, 1935 and 1937 for distributing socialist writings. During these years he was a member of the resistance group Revolutionary Socialists Austria (RSÖ) and worked underground for the free trade unions . So he negotiated until the end with the government of Kurt Schuschnigg in order to set up a common defense against the National Socialists . In 1938 he was named after the "Anschluss" of the Gestapo arrested and with the so-called celebrities transport to Dachau concentration camp brought. On March 30, 1944, he was transferred from there to the Buchenwald concentration camp , where he was liberated in 1945.

Beginnings in politics

From 1945 to 1948 and from 1969 to 1970 he was a member of the Vienna state parliament and municipal council . 1949–1957 he was chairman of the construction and woodworkers union. In this position he played a leading role in the dissolution of the October strikes of communist workers in October and November 1950 . The strikers had, among other things, poured concrete out of the switches of the Viennese tram to block traffic and dispatched taxiing commands to factories whose workers did not voluntarily join their strike call.

The initially spontaneous, later often forced work stoppage was interpreted by the ÖVP and SPÖ as a coup attempt by the KPÖ ; the ÖGB declared on October 7, 1950: "The attack on the freedom of Austrian workers and employees has been repulsed ...". In fact, at that time in Eastern Austria and in the Soviet sector of Vienna the question was whether the Red Army would intervene in favor of the strikers and, like the KPÖ, would demand a government reshuffle.

However, this did not happen. The trade unionists who were loyal to the ÖVP-SPÖ government retained the upper hand: Olah equipped activists from his construction workers' union with batons, lent trucks from entrepreneurs and vigorously opposed the communist rolling command in the Soviet sector of Vienna, while the police here were ordered by the occupying power was not allowed to intervene. The communists had meanwhile learned from Moscow that the Soviet Union did not want a source of unrest in Austria in the middle of the Korean War , and ultimately gave up.

As a lesson from the events of October 1950, Olah then strengthened the secret paramilitary organization " Austrian Hiking, Sports and Social Club ", founded in 1947 with the support of the CIA , which did not appear directly, and with the knowledge of a few Western Allied and Austrian decision-makers . to be better prepared for any future communist threats. It was - just as inconspicuously as it had existed - dissolved in the early 1960s.

In 1955 Olah became vice-president of the ÖGB, from 1959 to 1963 he was its president.

Illegal media funding

In 1959, Olah gave the Kronen Zeitung secret financial start-up aid with union money and first recommended his friend, the wholesale merchant Ferdinand Karpik , then the advertising specialist Kurt Falk as a partner to the founder, Hans Dichand . During this time, so-called “independent” newspapers had already overtaken the party papers Volksblatt (ÖVP), Arbeiter-Zeitung (SPÖ) and Volksstimme (KPÖ) in terms of distribution. “Independent” often meant critical of the SPÖ. Olah tried to make an SPÖ-friendly mass newspaper possible with his start-up help.

He proceeded in a similar way and for the same motives when financing the daily newspaper Express . In this case, after falling out of favor with his party in 1969, he was sentenced to one year imprisonment for improper use and unauthorized use of union funds.

Successes and failures

In 1961, with the secret Raab-Olah Agreement concluded on December 28 , a partnership agreement between employees and employers, Olah laid the foundation for the institutionalization of the Austrian social partnership . In the 1960s, the power-conscious pragmatist Franz Olah was primarily an internal party opponent of the more ideologically oriented Christian Broda . The two politicians were soon referred to as archenemies. Olah, characterized by Norbert readers as a “man's hero” in the sense of Hans Blühers , was also unpopular with the women's organization of the SPÖ. In 1963, Olah became Minister of the Interior . However, he only held this office for one year.


In 1964, Olah came under strong criticism from within the party. The reason for this was a financial injection of one million schillings to the FPÖ . This money also came from union coffers. It is believed that Olah wanted to set the course in the direction of a small coalition between the SPÖ and FPÖ. The majority in the SPÖ did not support this line. To her, Olah seemed too keen on personal power. Among other things, Christian Broda said that Olah wanted to turn the SPÖ into a “leader party”. The Minister of the Interior was also suspected of operating secret files on political opponents.

The SPÖ responded to all actual and suspected secret actions by Olah by expelling him, although Olah had many supporters who demonstrated for him in front of the party headquarters. As a formal reason for the exclusion from the party, "participation in non-socialist press products" was given - Olah had given the daily newspaper Die Presse an interview in which he found violent words for internal party opponents. A few days earlier it became known that Olah's opponents in the power struggle had commissioned the Viennese psychiatrist Hans Hoff to prepare an expert report on Olah, whereby the doctor came to the conclusion that the Minister of the Interior was schizophrenic and therefore insane. In an interview with the "Presse" he accused his opponents of Stalinism for this approach .

Olah as party founder

After being expelled from the SPÖ, Olah founded the Democratic Progressive Party (DFP) in 1965 . This right-wing populist party received a little more than 3 percent of the vote in the National Council election in 1966, but did not win a mandate for entry into parliament. The appearance of the party was therefore decisive for the absolute majority of the ÖVP mandate with a vote share of only 48.35 percent. Most of the Olah votes were likely to have come from previous SPÖ voters and thus reinforced the SPÖ's defeat.

In 1969 the DFP, which lived exclusively on Olah's reputation, won three seats in the Vienna municipal council elections. Olah himself, accused but not yet convicted, was carried out of a municipal council meeting by town hall guards on behalf of Mayor Bruno Marek because he refused to leave voluntarily . The provisions for the Vienna City Council provided for the mandate to be suspended from the initiation of criminal proceedings against the mandate. Olah called the Constitutional Court , which later declared this action and the provisions on which it was based to be unconstitutional.

In the following election period, the DFP was no longer represented in the Vienna City Council.


After his conviction, Franz Olah withdrew from political life. Later he was asked as a contemporary witness for the development of Austria since the First Republic. The SPÖ ultimately made their peace with him; Olah was invited to various republic anniversaries as a guest of honor.

Olah died on September 4, 2009 in Baden and was buried on September 25 in the local parish cemetery.

honors and awards

In 2005, at the suggestion of the black-and-blue federal government under Wolfgang Schüssel, the Social Democratic Federal President Heinz Fischer awarded him the Great Gold Medal of Honor with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria , one of the state's highest awards, on the occasion of his 95th birthday . In 2005 he also received the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold for services to the State of Vienna with the star and in 2008 the Julius Raab Medal .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. according to Hans Weiss / Krista Federspiel the official name change to Olah did not take place until 1951, cf. Who? Kremayr and Scheriau, Vienna 1988, ISBN 3-218-00475-6 , p. 137.
  2. ^ Hugo Portisch , Sepp Riff : Austria II : The long way to freedom , Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 1986, ISBN 3-218-00442-X , p. 434
  3. ^ Hugo Portisch, Sepp Riff: Austria II: The long way to freedom , Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 1986, ISBN 3-218-00442-X , pp. 414-438.
  4. ^ Hugo Portisch, Sepp Riff: Austria II: The long way to freedom , Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 1986, ISBN 3-218-00442-X , p. 441 f., Chap. Olah's secret weapons cache
  5. Media library ( Memento of the original from January 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Norbert Leser: Anton Benya and Franz Olah - an ideal type of confrontation. In: Europäische Rundschau No. 3/2012, pp. 43ff.
  7. Manfred Lechner: "... the one whose name may not be mentioned among the living". The "Olah Case" - A mega-scandal of the Second Republic? in: Michael Gehler / Hubert Sickinger (ed.): Political affairs and scandals in Austria. From Mayerling to Waldheim. Kulturverlag Thaur, Vienna-Munich, 1996 ISBN 3-85400-005-7 , pp. 419–436, here p. 432
  8. ^ Fritz Klenner: The Austrian trade unions. Past and Present Problems , Volume 3. Verlag des ÖGB, Vienna 1979 ISBN 3-7035-0223-1 , p. 2452
  9. Oh la la Der Spiegel 40/1964
  10. Schüssel zu Olah: Austria's intervention saved Austria APA-OTS, accessed on July 27, 2018.
  11. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  12. OTS press release 0062 from September 25, 2009 / 10:10