Jörg Haider

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Jörg Haider

Haider in 2007

In office
Preceded by Christoph Zernatto
Succeeded by Gerhard Dörfler
In office
Preceded by Peter Ambrozy
Succeeded by Christoph Zernatto

In office
30 August – 11 October 2008
Preceded by Peter Westenthaler
Succeeded by Stefan Petzner
In office
4 April 2005 – June 2006
Preceded by Party founder
Succeeded by Peter Westenthaler

In office
Preceded by Norbert Steger
Succeeded by Susanne Riess-Passer

Born 26 January 1950(1950-01-26)
Bad Goisern, Austria
Died 11 October 2008 (aged 58)
Köttmannsdorf, Austria
Political party Freedom Party of Austria (1970–2006)
Alliance for the Future of Austria (2006–2008)
Spouse(s) Claudia Haider-Hofmann (m. 1976–2008)
Children Ulrike, Cornelia[citation needed]
Alma mater University of Vienna
Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholicism

Jörg Haider (January 26, 1950October 11, 2008)[1] was an Austrian nationalist politician. He was Governor of Carinthia and Chairman of the "Alliance for the Future of Austria" (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, BZÖ).

Haider was a long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). When he stepped down as the FPÖ's chairman in 2000, he remained its major figure until 2005, when he founded the BZÖ in April.

Personal life


Haider's parents had been early members of the NSDAP. They were from different backgrounds; Haider's father, Robert Haider, was a shoemaker, while his mother, Dorothea Rupp, was the daughter of a wealthy, noted, medical doctor and head of the general hospital of Linz.[2]

Robert Haider joined the NSDAP in 1929 as a fifteen-year-old boy, four years before Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. He remained a member even after the Austrian National Socialist Party was banned in Austria and after Engelbert Dollfuss had dissolved the Austrian parliament. In 1933, Haider senior moved to Bavaria but returned to Austria the following year after the failed attempt by National Socialists to overthrow the Austrian government. He was arrested and chose to move back to Germany where he joined the Austrian Legion, a division of the Sturmabteilung.[3]

Haider senior completed a two-year military service in Germany and returned to Austria in 1938 after its annexation by Germany. From 1940, he fought as a junior officer on the Western and Eastern Fronts in Europe during the Second World War. Having been wounded several times, he was discharged from the Wehrmacht with the rank of lieutenant. In 1945, he married Dorothea Rupp, at that time as a leader in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM).

Following the end of the war, legal proceedings against both Haider's parents were conducted to determine what measures should be taken against them because of their NSDAP membership. They were labelled as "Minderbelastet" (meaning only low-ranking in the NSDAP structure), and Robert Haider was forced to work in a shoe factory. Dorothea Haider, who had been a teacher, was prohibited from working for a couple of years following the end of the war.[2][4]


Jörg Haider was born in the Upper Austrian town of Bad Goisern in 1950. He was a good student in primary school and attended high school in Bad Ischl despite his parents' financial situation. Haider was reportedly always top of his class in high school.[5] During his time in Bad Ischl he had first contacts with nationalist organizations, such as the Burschenschaft Albia, a right-wing student group.

After he graduated with highest distinction in 1968, he moved to Vienna to study law. During his studies he was affiliated again with a Burschenschaft such as Silvania. After graduating from the University of Vienna with the title of Dr. iur. in 1973 he was drafted into the Austrian Army where he voluntarily spent more than the mandatory nine months (called 'the voluntary one year'). In 1974 he started to work at the University of Vienna law faculty in the department of constitutional law.

Rise to power in the FPÖ

The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) was founded in 1955, and initially was a mixture of various political currents opposed both to the political catholicism of the Austrian People's Party and the socialist views of the Social Democratic Party of Austria. With its roots in the Pan-German movement, it included both German-nationalist and liberal political views. In 1970 Haider became the leader of the FPÖ youth movement and headed it until 1974. Haider rose rapidly through the party ranks. In 1972, at the age of 22, he was already a well-established leader and was made party affairs manager of the Carinthian FPÖ in 1976. In 1979 he was the youngest delegate among the 183 members of parliament, at age 29. From 1983 his policies became more aggressive, when he rose to party head of the Carinthian FPÖ and started to criticise the leaders of the FPÖ, which at that time was still a minor political movement in Austria, usually winning only about 5–6% of the vote.[6]

The decisive point of his career came in 1986 when he defeated Austrian Vice Chancellor Norbert Steger in the vote for party leadership at the party convention in September in Innsbruck; many delegates feared that Steger's liberal political views and his coalition with the Social Democrats threatened the party's existence.


Haider was killed in a car crash in Köttmannsdorf near Klagenfurt, in the state of Carinthia, in the early hours of October 11, 2008. Police reported that the Volkswagen Phaeton that Haider had been driving came off the road, rolled down an embankment and overturned,[7] causing him "severe head and chest injuries".[8] Haider, who was on his way to a family gathering in honour of his mother's 90th birthday,[9] was alone in the government car and no other vehicles were involved.[10][11]

Joerg Haider was married to Claudia Haider (Gattin). The couple had two daughters.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. news.orf.at/?href=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.orf.at%2Fticker%2F304770.html.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jörg Haider Biographie (German). Wiener Zeitung (2004-09-10). Retrieved on 2008-05-05. “Seine Eltern, die 1945 heirateten, kamen aus unterschiedlichen Bildungsschichten. Der Vater war Schuhmacher, die Mutter, eine geborene Rupp, die Tochter eines Gynäkologen und Primararztes am Linzer Allgemeinen Krankenhaus.”
  3. Jörg Haider's Antisemitism. Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Hebrew University (2001). Retrieved on 2008-05-05.
  4. Profile: Controversy and Joerg Haider. BBC News (2000-02-29). Retrieved on 2008-05-05. “After the war they were punished for their affiliations and forced to take up menial work.”
  5. www.smoc.net/haiderwatch/bioen.html.
  6. www.smoc.net/haiderwatch/bio.html.
  7. www.rte.ie/news/2008/1011/haiderj.html.
  8. BBC Austria's Haider dies in accident 11 October 2008
  9. www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/1011/breaking2.htm.
  10. afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jnhrKIkZtbp1GqyfoqTMsmwoh1WA. Archived from the original on 2008-10-14.
  11. us.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/10/11/austria.haider/index.html.