"Schöffel. . . banded together . . . to expose those knaves"
Josef Schoffel
Public DomainJosef Schöffel
Schoffel caricature
Public DomainJosef Schöffel caricature

     Looking for new income after the disastrous and costly wars against the Italians in 1859 and the Prussians in 1866, the Ministry of Finance planned, along with raising taxes, on selling large tracts of the Vienna Woods.  Josef Schöffel (1832-1910) started a campaign in 1870 against the proposed sale. When bribes failed, the timber interests went so far as to plan a “hunting accident” for Schöffel, which was thwarted when he was warned of it. He continued his campaign and finally the government withdrew the planned sale at the end of 1872. The Preservation Act of 1873 did just that and the Vienna Woods today comprise a green belt of 1350 square kilometers. At right, a contemporary image of the “Savior of the Vienna Woods.”