Sunday, May 04, 2008

Fritzl, Austrians and ...Radio Maryja?

The shocking, disgusting and incomprehensibly cruel case of the Austrian ‘children in the cellar’ has made some commentators look for sociological causes, in some unlikely places, for what is really the individual act of a psychopath. Even Poland’s cranky, ultra-conservative anti-Semites at Radio Maryja have been dragged into the increasingly wild comment-fest.

Many commentators have tried to explain, what I believe is almost the unexplainable, by trying to find something buried deep within small town Austrian culture. And they seem to be finding it in a place even colder and darker than the cellar under Josef Fritzl’s house in Amstetten.

The locals knew something, didn't they? So why did they look away, pretend it wasn’t happening?

Apparently, it’s all to do with Austria’s anti-Semitic past. Yup! Of course it is. But not only Austria's dark past. Look at this bit from Howard Jacobson’s column in the Independent (UK).

As chance would have it – let's call it chance, anyway – the unremarkable provincial Austrian town of Amstetten has looked away before. There was a concentration camp in Amstetten. Not a big one. Just a sub-camp of Mauthausen, of which there were approximately 50 dotted around lower and upper Austria. Since Mauthausen's speciality was extermination by means of slave labour, in particular the extermination of politically educated and vocal enemies of the Reich, we might fairly assume that Amstetten's speciality was the same. It is also worth noting that Amstetten was a camp for women.

Whether it is equally worth noting that the Polish Catholic radio station Radio Maryja [my italics] – a continual embarrassment to the Vatican on account of its nationalistic and anti-Semitic utterances – has opened several bases in the Austrian Tyrol, the first of them in Amstetten, I don't know…

Well, if he doesn’t know whether it was worth pointing that out - and I would argue that it was ridiculous to point that out in the context of this story - then why bother in the first place?

It says here (under religious antisemitism) that the founder of Radio Maryja, the anti-Semite Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, decided in 1999 to expand his operations in the Tyrol region, adding to the base already set up in Amstetten, the town where the disgusting Fritzl imprisoned his daughter and children.

That said, the small town of Amstetten (eastern Austria) is not in the Tyrol region, which is in the west of Austria, as is the district of Amstetten - which is a different place. Could this be a mix up with Radio Maria International (which Rydzyk did have an involvment with back in the 1980s in Bavaria) which does have a place in Amstetten?

Whatever. What has that got to do with this case? Where is there evidence that any lingering anti-Semitism in Austria, or anywhere else, had anything to do with such a freak case such as this?

Maybe Brendan O'Niell in spiked is right. What Jacobson and others are alluding to is this: Catholic Austrians, like those Radio Maryja listening Poles, are not like us. They are from the East and so do not think and behave as we do in western Europe. They live in a denial culture, hiding from their past, deaf and blind to their present.

That the ultra-conservative loonies at Radio Maryja can be dragged into a case so shocking - because it is so unusual - maybe shows up something a little disturbing about some western European thinking about Central and Eastern Europe. It tells us nothing, however, about what caused a psychopath like Fritzl to do what he did.

Update - maybe someone can help, here.

In the Jacobson article linked in the above post it claims that Radio Maryja had a base in Amstetten and then expanded and has now many bases in the Tyrol region.

But the town where Friztl lived is in east Austria. Tyrol is in west Austria. There is also a Amstetten district in west Austria, but very far from the eastern town of the same name.

We have also failed to find evidence that Radio Maryja has bases in Austria, as is claimed in the Jacobson article and the other link I give in the original post.

What we have found is that another radio network, Radio Maria does have a base in Amstettel.

Father Rydzyk of Radio Maryja had contact with a Radio Maria in Germany in the 1980s.

Could Jacobson be mistaking Radio Maryja with Radio Maria?



Anonymous said...

RM is broadcasting in the German language, too?

beatroot said...

That would not be such a shock, Geez. Rydzyk learnt his trade in a parish in Bavaria in the 1980s. He was one of the people who set up Radio Maria International (different from radio Maryja).

Anonymous said...

This is one mentally ill individual and I find it a stretch to link into his action anything else. The notion that there is any relevance to nationalism, religion, anti-Semitism or the state of Austrian society has no credibility.

In any society a significant portion of people are afflicted with mental illness in one US study “as many as 30% of the adult population in the United States suffer from mental disorders.”

There is no more to this then the consequences of one person’s mental illness.

beatroot said...

Actually, I am becoming suspicious of some of jacobson's article. have revized text slightly.

beatroot said...

Though you can get radio maryja in Ecuador so why not Austria?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, is RM broadcast in multiple languages or just Polish?

In Austria, in German or in Polish?

Anonymous said...

Shocking story this one. Sick guy. Deeply, deeply, sick individual. Having trouble believing that nobody noticed anything remotely suspicious, particularly the wife, although more may well come out later.

Natural instinct to try and find a reason for it but I think this just has to go down to the guy being a very twisted and evil individual.

Sad that the worst that can happen to him is 15 years for rape. All the inhuman things he's done and rape is the worst crime??!! Something wrong there.

Anonymous said...

Looking at that website you posted above BR, it reads to me like somebody from RM interviewed one of those Franciscans in Equador.

It doesn't seem at all like there is a station that broadcasts RM there in any language.

Of course, it can be picked up in Polish on the internet all over the world.

So I still ask what does the RM presence in Austria consist of?

beatroot said...

This is the thing, Geez. can;t even find an address for them in Austria. can find this radio maria International, but not them crazies from Torun. jacobson is also confused about where Tyrol is in Austria.

Anonymous said...

The Radio Maria group is Austria is not linked to Rydzik, at least not organizationally.

Indeed, Poland is not included in the listing of Radio Maria stations by country (and presumably by language) which can be found at:

Anonymous said...

LOL, Poor Radio Maria, lol it has been accused of everything, the jew blames everyone for its misfortunes, now this lol

michael farris said...

I was just in Budapest and kept seeing stickers in the metro for that 'other' Radio Maria (Mária Rádió in Hungarian) which was confusing until I figured out it was a different brand.

beatroot said...

It is a different and slightly more respectable organization...though Rydzyk was involved with it in the 1980s in Germany. That's where he got the idea of setting up his own little band of merry men.

So has Jacobson, and the link which is now in the main text about Maryja in Austria (which he appears to have taken, almost word for word) a little mistaken here? If so then he just wrote a crap article.

I still can;t find a trace of maryja in Austria. But I can find addresses to Radio Maria.

beakerkin said...

Actually this is faulty logic as the proximity to a historical site does not infer causation. People try to make sense out of things were no relationship exists.

We were told by the media the VT killer was a cold engineering major who could not relate to humans. The truth was he was an English major. There has been plenty of speculation that his Ismael Ax tatoo was Koranic or from Moby Dick.

Sometimes we need to just accept that some people are just insane and evil.

Anonymous said...

The other and bigger RM historicizes itself as being established in 1998.

Kinda difficult, then, for Rydzik to have been associated with them in Germany in the 1980s. Later maybe.

beatroot said...

I am sure he was in bavaria in 1980s working at a radio station.

Anonymous said...

There are many Catholic radio stations that are linked in to larger networks. They are not all associated other than that they consider themselves Catholic or sometimes more specifically Franciscan or Dominican or whatever.

Where I live in the US, the diocese has distanced itself from the local self-proclaimed "Roman Catholic" radio station oftentimes explaining that the station's views do not reflect that of the diocese.

In the US, there is also the Polish language Father Justin Radio Hour which is broadcast from various radio stations throughout the US. It has been dying out in recent years. Father Justin in the 1930s was a less right-wing version of the infamous Father Coughlin -- prolly the most widely known "radio priest" ever in the US. Very anti-semitic and even on the verge of being fascist and more or less supportive of the same in Europe. He eventually "retired" in disgrace.

From time to time, some emissary from Rydzik comes into Polish parishes and tries to raise funds for RM. They are prolly more successful than not in doing so since just about everybody will throw a buck in the basket. Some pastors are wise enough not to let them into their parishes but my guess is that most are too dimwitted to know what RM is all about in Poland -- and they may even associate Rydzik's group with the "international" RM which also has affiliates in the US.

Anonymous said...

I should make it clear that it was Coughlin who disgraced himself, not Father Justin Figas whose radio program has lived on long after his death.

Anonymous said...

I should make it clear that it was Coughlin who disgraced himself, not Father Justin Figas whose radio program has lived on long after his death.

Anonymous said...

Whoever owns this blog, I would like to say that he has a great idea of choosing a topic.

Anonymous said...

In advance im sorry for my poor english;)
I hope u dont take RM too sariousely! RM was always considered as a thing to make laugh at here in Poland! In fact, we Poles take Mr Rydzyk as some kind of insane man who sees everywhere a worldwide antipolish conspiration make by Jews to regain their estates lost in Poland during WWII...;DDD

Ive read few minutes ago the comments about the article from 2007 ('Poland's tents against anti-semitism') and i was really upset by some of the comments because they were completely missed! I see that some of you has wrong idea about that problem in Poland.

First of all it has nothing to do with the religion! There are no basic to hate Jews in catholisim, it just the streotipical image of Catholics. Also it is not true that polish people are religious nation. I remember there was some research few years ago that showed that there are 95% of Cathlics in Poland but in the same research only something about (sorry if im wrong but it was certainly a much lower procentage than declarated 'catholics') 60% admited that believe in God!!! I also noticed by living here that lots of peolple consider religion only as a kind of tradition and they dont take it too seriousely... They often call them self 'Catholics' only because of fact being christen. Lots of young people (including me ;) turn back to the cathlic church, so i wouldnt say that "poland is the most catholic country in europe".

Someone wrote that 'Rydzyk is well-established and widely admired'. Is that supposed to be a joke?! The guy who wrote it certainly never been to Poland! If Rydzyk is 'admired' by anyone, hes only admired by some non-educated people in the age of 50-80. No intelectuals supports him or young people and NOBODY TAKE HIM TOO SERIOUSELY!!! RM talks bullsh*t not only about Jews but also but such things like rock music festivals are satanistic and makes youth to take drugs or Harry Potter corrupts childrens minds... and how to take seriouse such man???

There was a period in Poland were our goverment favoured that radiostation and RM's brother television 'TV Trwam', but it was just a sly move to gain the more votes by enlargen the group of voters by those ones who no imporatant party was intrested to attract. As u see now they paid a big price for that kind of moves (either i mean here making coalitions with niche parties such like League of Polish Famillies)- they lost their popularity and creditibility in next elections.

So pleaase, dont make such a fuss about that man!! He's really considered as a some kind of freak here!!!

Refering to the antisemistic problem in poland. I have to admit that there are some people who dont like jewish but it is not like having a bad feelings to individuals. People who dont like jewish actually dont like the ideas which in their oppinion connects with Jews (capitalism, communism, arbic-israel conflict etc...) but often they dont either consider all members of the nation as to be involved in this, so their predujuice is not against every jewish person.

They also manipulated to think that jewish people are generaly very antipolish and trying to make a bad oppinion of poland as a antisemitic country... i know that sounds like absurd but its really often use argument by such people like mr Rydzyk.

At the end - once again:

Anonymous said...

'Lots of young people (including me ;) turn back to the cathlic church'

Of course i mean: turn AGAINST catholic church... sorry for mistake ;)

Anonymous said...

The trouble, Scatts and beatroot, is that the reason why people do things like this chap has in Ausdtria are well known only instead of as you say trying to find the reason everyone avoids it.

The answer is to be found here (free access to this book)
and also in the follow up book 'Thou shalt not be aware'

Unknown said...

Please stay away from RAdio Maryja you MORONS
The question of Radio Maryja in Poland is raised mostly by leftist groups, the post-communists,"। "These people are usually against the church and not Radio Maryja itself.

Radio Maryja with community for over 4 million people in Poland and all over the world.
15 years ago you began your work in humble conditions. Today Radio Maryja and your other enterprises have assumed large dimensions and are very important to the Church in Poland. The Radio is a sign of opposition. The media you have created proclaim the message, which is today important to the lives of millions.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the public media feel very unconformable about this Polish enterprise Radio Maryja.

One of the many resons of the public hatred might be that the Radio Maryja brodcast the real truth about political, economical and social issues .In contrary to those jurnalists and media operators Who present those issues in accordance with the views of their employers who pay them some commissions for.

THe public media hatred aims against the Catholic faith and the moral teachinc of the church.

It is very easy to see why the media concentrate so much on the Catholic Faith: By introducing hatred , misinformation and suspicion about the Catholic church ,the media try to disestablish the church in order to have absolute control over the people.

The writer's comments about the Middle and Eastern Europe shows only how he was emotionally unstable and racist against those nations who leave in that part of Europe.

The Radio Maryja broadcast is like a diamond in the sea of corruption and utopia. And no doubt those who hide behind the public media facade would like the diamond to disappear.

Father Rydzyk ought to receive the order of bravery for His actions and endurance.