Over 40 percent of Austrians think life under Hitler was “not all bad,” a survey released by an Austrian newspaper revealed.
The Market Institut poll also found a majority of Austrians think the country has dealt adequately with its Nazi history, the Der Standard newspaper, which commissioned the study, reported.
Surveying 502 people, the paper found that 42% believed that “not everything was bad under [Adolf] Hitler,” while 57% said there were no positive aspects to life under the Nazi leader.
The poll, published Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s union, or Anschluss, with Germany under Hitler, found that 53% thought the unification was voluntary, while 46% said that Vienna was taken advantage of.
The issue of the union with Germany is a divisive one in Austria, where the country often portrays itself as a victim of the Nazis, despite the fact that Hitler’s rule was met with little resistance and even support in 1938.
Right-wing nationalist parties have often fared well in the European country, even since World War II. In January, the leader of Vienna’s Jewish Community said the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to his office had doubled in the previous year.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center regularly grades Austria among its lowest-scoring countries for prosecuting Nazi war criminals.
The poll found that 61% of Austrians feel the country has dealt with its Nazi past sufficiently and 57% feel the Nazi’s victims have been compensated in full.
The survey also found that 61% of respondents, mostly the same people who said life under Hitler had some good aspects, would be happy with a strong-armed leader that did not have to contend with rival lawmakers or elections. A similar poll in 2008 found only one in five Austrians in favor of a strongman.