Israel Upon Danube. Episode 7

Six-Day War


Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol, 1960.


On the basis of its agreement with West Germany, the Jewish state sets about reducing the Tyrol enclave and hermetically sealing the border with Carinthia. Two freeways are quickly built to bypass Innsbruck. The southern axis links Vienna to the Italian border via the Brenner Pass; the northern axis links up with the German road network via the shores of Lake Constance. Both highways are naturally protected by a succession of military posts.

The government encourages the creation of Jewish settlements in the Austrian Alps and decides to exploit tourism resources by creating winter sports resorts. The transformation of mountain pastures into ski slopes provokes a new exodus, and villagers flock to the refugee camps in Innsbruck.

The FATA retaliates by sabotaging the facilities. With each attack, the Jewish State’s special defense forces enter the Innsbruck enclave to arrest the terrorists and destroy their homes.

In May 1967, a FATA commando attacks the southern axis, machine-gunning Jewish tourists returning from Italy via the Brenner. This time, the attackers are not from Innsbruck, but from Carinthia. The Israeli air force retaliates by bombing a refugee camp in the heart of Klagenfurt. Tito immediately requests that the matter be referred to the United Nations Security Council. The USSR’s representative, Andrei Gromyko, calls for firm condemnation of the Zionist aggression, but runs up against the vetoes of the United States and Great Britain, with France abstaining.

Tito organizes giant demonstrations, preceded by military parades, in Belgrade, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Sarajevo. In Klagenfurt, paramilitary formations of Austrian refugees parade at a snail’s pace in traditional dress, skin pants and feathered hats. They are equipped with Soviet-made Kalashnikov assault rifles. Vienna television, which only has still photos taken by a spy plane, reports that the parade ended to the sound of the Horst Wessel Lied. Le Monde’s Belgrade correspondent, who was unable to travel to Klagenfurt, refers to traditional German and Austrian songs. In any case, the FATA leaders issue an unambiguous slogan: “The Danube will be red with the blood of the Jews!”

On June 4, 1967, Tito sends Vienna an ultimatum demanding free passage between Slovenia and the Tyrol.

In Moscow, Leonid Brezhnev demands the withdrawal of Zionist troops from the borders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and an end to aggression against Yugoslavia.

Levi Eshkol, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Jewish People, convenes a Defense Council in which David Ben Gurion participates, feeling that it is high time for him to come out of retirement. No information is released other than the decision to declare general mobilization.

On June 5, the Jewish Defense Forces go into action. The air force sinks the flotilla blocking the Danube, as well as several land-based military installations in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The head of the air force, General Ezer Weizmann, lets his squadrons fly over Bratislava and Budapest before giving them formal orders to return to base.

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff Itzhak Rabin launch three simultaneous offensives. Paratroopers jump over Innsbruck, supported by tanks that enter the city by land. A larger-scale operation targets the town of Klagenfurt where, after an aerial bombardment, a paratroop division jumps on the refugee camps, while tanks ram the border defenses. Pressure on the third front, facing Warsaw Pact troops, is deliberately more moderate but, once again, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians surrender en masse, so that the Jewish army easily reaches Bratislava and deploys in the Hungarian Puszta to the shores of Lake Balaton. The Yugoslav soldiers prove tougher, but the Jewish army, after taking the town of Klagenfurt, occupies Carinthia and penetrates Slovenia before stopping in front of Ljubljana. The deadliest fighting takes place in Innsbruck, where snipers harass the soldiers for six days, while the bulk of the FATA forces are wiped out within the first 24 hours.

On the sixth day of the war, the government in Vienna accepts the United Nations Security Council’s request for a ceasefire. The Jewish state promises to withdraw behind Austria’s historic borders in exchange for guarantees of its security. Vienna reserves the right to decide on the status of Tyrol and Carinthia, provisionally declared military zones under the control of the Jewish state.

Victory is total, but difficult to manage. In Tyrol and Carinthia, the Jewish State now takes responsibility for hostile populations. It is impossible to get rid of them by expulsion, as neighboring countries—Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Yugoslavia—refuse to accept new refugees. Even Liechtenstein, which had distinguished itself in May 1945 by welcoming and protecting Russian soldiers who had rallied to the Nazis after being taken prisoner, has closed its border.

Germany and Italy are not unhappy with the Jewish victory. In Germany, however, pacifist movements call for solidarity with the Austrian victims, while in Rome cardinals organize prayers for the Catholics of Innsbruck. For its part, France declares an arms embargo, officially targeting all belligerents, even though it has never sold a single rifle to Yugoslavia, Hungary, or Czechoslovakia.

In November 1967, the UN passes a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the Jewish State’s armed forces within the lines established in 1948.

The USSR, while urging its allies to war, carefully avoids direct involvement, contenting itself with retaliatory measures prohibiting any trade with the Republic of the Jewish People. The Six-Day War shows up the weakness of the USSR’s allies and the reluctance of soldiers from sister countries. The Soviet press denounces Zionist imperialism but avoids dwelling on the defeat of its allies. Mikhail Suslov, head of the Party’s ideological section, orders newspapers to publish daily the exploits of the heroic fighters in Vietnam, who are confronting American imperialism. Soviet officers who had served as instructors in Hungary and Czechoslovakia are systematically replaced. American intelligence reports that two planes carrying Red Army officers from sister countries were escorted by MiGs to Gorky, the former Nizhny Novgorod, where the Post of Tears marks the entrance to the hell of the Siberian camps.

The Iron Curtain is strengthened at the borders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In Vienna, the Jewish Agency reports alarming news to the government: Soviet Jews have been arrested for receiving letters from relatives in the Jewish State. Brezhnev orders the closure of Moscow’s Great Synagogue, and several rabbis disappear.

In Poland, Gomulka is purging the party and state apparatus of any elements suspected of Zionism.

Although it’s not clear whether this is a consequence of the June 1967 defeat, the socialist camp is soon shaken by several waves of protest. In January 1968, the Czechoslovak Communist Party sacks its first secretary, Anton Novotny, and replaces him with Alexander Dubcek, who immediately launches an ambitious reform policy. It is, of course, the Prague Spring, which Brezhnev considers to be a counter-revolution inspired by the city’s Jewish soul. In truth, Dubcek has put economic reform in the hands of Ota Sik, who is not Jewish, but is inspired by a Soviet economist, Evsei Liberman, whose liberalization project Brezhnev rejected. The Literatournaïa Gazetta denounces the “Kafkaesque spirit” reigning in Prague. The Izvestia strongly criticizes the return of bourgeois culture, often of Zionist inspiration. Brezhnev worries about the rapid rise of Jewish cadres, including Frantisek Kriegel, who joins the PCT’s political bureau.

At the same time, in Warsaw, the suspension of performances of a patriotic play by Adam Mickiewicz provokes street demonstrations and a protest movement at the university. Gomulka and his Minister of the Interior, Miecesyslav Moczar, response with an anti-Zionist campaign designed to justify violent repression. Jewish professors are expelled from the university, and student Adam Michnik is thrown into prison. Several thousand Polish Jews are expelled and stripped of their nationality. Their property is confiscated, and they arrive by train in West Germany without a penny to continue their journey. The Jewish Agency is responsible for rally those who wish to return to their natural homeland, the Republic of the Jewish People.

Trybuna Ludu, the organ of the POUP [Polish Communist Party], takes great pleasure in recounting the rather gaudy reception of Polish Jews reunited with their families in Vienna. Proof of the Zionist plot is established.

Souslov reports to the CPSU Central Committee on Zionist activities, asserting that the Vienna government has not given up on establishing a Judenreich in the Habsburg Empire. He points to the Six-Day War as evidence of his assertions, suspecting that it was a preparation for the takeover of Slovenia, Bohemia, Slovakia, and Hungary. The events in Warsaw and Prague are said to have been provoked by Zionist elements under orders from Vienna.

Suslov claims that in Prague, at a rally at Charles University, musicians played the Hatikva, which was taken up in chorus by the students. In truth, it was Smetana’s symphonic poem, which is very popular in Czechoslovakia and whose opening bars bear a striking resemblance to those of the Zionist anthem.

The very diplomatic message of congratulations sent to Vienna on May 14, 1968, by General Svoboda, President of Czechoslovakia, on the twentieth anniversary of the Jewish state, is seen in Moscow as an attack on the unity of the socialist camp. The USSR’s diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Jewish People have been severed since the Six-Day War, and in the eyes of the Kremlin, this severance applies to all sister countries. The Pragians, never short of ideas when it comes to mocking the Soviet Government, tell anyone who will listen that the USSR is indeed a “brotherly” country and not a friendly one because friends are chosen!

According to the Kremlin, Czechoslovakia has opened up gaps in the border. The Soviet press publishes two pieces of evidence of the arrival of representatives of the Jewish State in Czechoslovakia. On May 8, 1968, survivors from Terezin [Theresienstadt] take part in a ceremony commemorating the liberation of the camp. The delegation includes, as the Pravda puts it, “Zionist dignitaries.” Worse still, the same Pravda accuses Alexander Dubcek of having allowed the resumption of Jewish pilgrimages to the graves of Franz Kafka and the Maharal of Prague. It’s true that Jews continue to visit both graves, but they don’t come directly from Vienna, as the borders are hermetically sealed. And it is absolutely impossible to check whether these pilgrims—who arrive from Paris, Amsterdam, or London with passports from European countries—have dual nationality.

On the basis of these revelations, the CPSU launches an ideological offensive within the international Communist movement. Brezhnev denounces Alexander Dubcek’s political line as “imbued with Austromarxist ideology and Zionism.” In July 1968, five Warsaw Pact countries call on the government and Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to put an end to “anti-socialist activities.”

On August 21, 1968, the Soviet army, escorted by its Warsaw Pact allies, invades Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the Prague Spring. The defense forces of the Republic of the Jewish People are put on alert and reservists are recalled. The occupation of Czechoslovakia is greeted by joyous demonstrations in the refugee camps of Tyrol and Carinthia. The Jewish State retaliates by imposing curfews in Innsbruck and Klagenfurt, and by briefly cutting power supplies to remind people that both territories are heavily dependent on Vienna.

However, there are no incidents on the Czechoslovak border. Jewish border guards watch with binoculars as Soviet units arrive and immediately make arrests. A Jewish State spy plane manages to film a convoy of trucks taking Czechoslovak officers and soldiers to an unknown destination.

Despite hostile demonstrations, the Soviet operation is a success.

Congratulating his officers, USSR Defense Minister Marshal Gretchko declares—”We have avenged Czechoslovakia of the humiliation inflicted on it by the Zionists in June 1967. Socialism will triumph over Zionist imperialism!”

In the Jewish Republic, no one can contest the policy of cooperation with West Germany. The country now lives separately from its Communist neighbors and is seen as an outpost of NATO, of which it is not a member.



In September 2023, powerful spotlights illuminate the Schönbrunn Palace façade in blue and white, as celebrities from almost every corner of the globe flock to attend the seventy-fifth Jewish New Year’s concert given by the prestigious Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. As always, the audience marks the rhythm of Radzetski’s march and vibrates to the sound of the Blue Danube. The Hatikvah that closes the concert seems to have been composed for this festival hall, which witnessed the splendor of the Habsburgs, but also their setbacks when Napoleon’s soldiers bivouacked in the park’s alleys.

The Republic of the Jewish People-Israel celebrated its 75th anniversary in May 2023. It survived the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The fall of communism allowed relations to be re-established with Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Relations with Serbia are still tense, with Belgrade persisting in its support for refugees from Tyrol and Carinthia. Serbia did not appreciate the creation of road and rail links between the Jewish state network and those of Slovenia and Croatia.

The Republic of the Jewish People finds itself in a paradoxical situation. The Danube blockade has been lifted, opening up access to the Black Sea, while freight can reach the Adriatic ports by land.

The relationship with Germany brought the Jewish state into the modern economy, enabling it to become a real power, selling its scientific and technological innovations to the world. Its cultural and artistic life shines throughout Europe. The fall of the USSR and the Communist regimes brought over a million new inhabitants.

However, the egalitarian dream of the pioneers is a distant memory. Prosperity is hardly shared in the development cities, where the Sephardic proletariat is concentrated.

Resentment is exacerbated by the fact that, unlike Ashkenazim, Jews from the Arab world are completely cut off from their homelands. The linguistic divide reinforces social inequalities. German, the second official language of the Jewish State, remains the main basis for economic exchanges, even though Hebrew has become the lingua franca. The Sephardic part of Jewish culture struggles to express itself, reduced to variety if not folklore, while Vienna and Salzburg-Kyriat Amadeus set the tone, literally and figuratively. The Jewish State is at the heart of the revival of German music, literature, and philosophy.

The Republic of the Jewish People is no longer threatened at its borders, but it has bitter enemies all over the world. The countries of the Middle East still hold it responsible for the wars that have torn the Arab world apart for 75 years. After the 1948 war, agreements between the belligerents divided up the territories that constituted Palestine under the British Mandate. These agreements are regularly violated by Syria and the various Lebanese factions, who have no reason to recognize the colonial borders drawn by Sykes and Picot to separate Mandate Palestine from the French Levant.

Egypt has established its northern border on a line running from Jaffa to the ramparts of Jerusalem. Syria and Lebanon share the Galilee, which is constantly troubled by clashes between Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, and Christians.

The lines that divide the territory of former Mandate Palestine fluctuate according to wars and ceasefires.

Divided between Syria and Jordan and guarded by neighboring Egypt, Jerusalem is at the heart of confrontations. Despite repeated mediation by the King of Morocco, the guardian of the Islamic holy sites, and the King of Saudi Arabia, the Old City and the Esplanade of the Mosques are regularly the scene of bloody clashes. The Jordanian army controls the esplanade. The Syrians have set up their quarters below, in the shadow of the ancient Wailing Wall. The Christian militias of Jerusalem, armed by Syria, guard the Holy Sepulcher, to the great displeasure of the Vatican, which is demanding international holy city status for Jerusalem.

The Arab countries that clash over Jerusalem agree that the departure of the Jews is to blame for their misfortunes. No people want to take responsibility for the disasters that befall them. Especially in the Middle East, freed from the great empires for the first time in three thousand years! With the British and French having abandoned the peoples of the region to their own fate, someone has to take the blame. The Jews had played this role for so long, but now it is their turn to leave.

However, the main source of international disapproval of the Republic of the Jewish People is the refugee situation. While the agreement with West Germany has emptied the camps of part of their population, the aid distributed by the United Nations Office for Refugees has perpetuated the enclaves of Innsbruck and Klagenfurt. At the initiative of the United States, a peace process is set in motion in 1993 between the Republic of the Jewish People and the FATA, granting relative autonomy to the two enclaves, which are still separated by the military zone and roads. Signed in Oslo, the agreement, far from pacifying relations between the Jewish state and the autonomous zones, was followed by a series of attacks. However, a German Alpine Authority was set up in Innsbruck, complete with a police force. The FATA is soon overwhelmed by a military-religious organization, the Holy Assault Militia for Victory, in German “Heilige Angriff Miliz Aus Sieg!” This HAMAS seized power in Klagenfurt, reducing the Authority recognized by the Republic of the Jewish People to the city of Innsbruck, surrounded by mountains and valleys where Jewish settlements continue to multiply.

The status quo drags on, punctuated by rocket fire from Klagenfurt, met by aerial bombardment. The Republic of the Jewish People now faces boycott movements and hostile demonstrations. It is also experiencing internal upheaval, with a far-right movement calling for the expulsion of non-Jewish populations.

Zionists can console themselves by imagining what would have been like if a Jewish state had been established on the lands of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judea, in the midst of such hostile peoples…

Guy Konopnicki

Guy Konopnicki is a journalist and writer. Among his many books, he is the author, with Brice Couturier, of ‘Réflexions sur la question goy’ (Lieu Commun, 1988) and ‘La faute des Juifs – Réponse à ceux qui nous écrivent tant’ (Balland, 2002).

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