It is no longer uncommon for dishes whose names are no longer contemporary to be renamed. No matter how far back the tradition may go, gypsy schnitzel and Mohrenkopf should be passé these days. The Austrian cardinal cuts are still a long way from this, but evil tongues are already suspecting that the current debate is heading in this direction.

On the occasion of his 90th birthday, “der Standard” questions the origins of the popular pastry – and brings up a controversial figure: the controversial Cardinal Theodor Innitzer.

The cut, named after the clergyman, consists of two layers of sponge cake and meringue strips held together by apricot jam. The colors yellow and white are not chosen randomly, but are intended – depending on the source – to represent the Holy See (according to the “Standard”) or the colors of the Vatican (according to the “Kurier”). In any case, they provide a clue to the occasion for which the pastry was invented.

In 1933, Catholic Day took place in Vienna from September 7th to 12th. At that time Ludwig Heiner was hired by the K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäckerei L. Heiner in Vienna was commissioned to create a pastry, reports “der Standard”. With its location between the archbishop’s palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the pastry shop was the regular café of Cardinal Innitzer, who is said to have come and gone there.

This is also why the pastries were named after the clergyman. However, according to the “Kurier”, the time at that time fell into the “darkest chapter of Austrian history”. At that time, a right-wing, authoritarian system of rule, known as Austrofascism, was established in Austria.

Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß is said to have used the Catholic Day to propagate the Austrofascist corporate state. In his vision, the state – as “the Standard” writes – should be based on Christian principles. The bishops and the cardinal would have supported this.

Theodor Innitzer is also known for his unclear, ambivalent relationship to the Nazi era. In 1938, he and the bishops are said to have signed a declaration to the population to vote for “annexation” to Germany in the referendum. He should send an accompanying letter with “Heil Hitler!” have signed. Later he is said to have distanced himself from Nazi ideas by proclaiming Jesus Christ as the “only leader”. He is even said to have supported the relief office in the archbishop’s palace that helped Jews escape.

“It is important to talk about this time,” says the current head of the Heiner confectionery, Verena Eissner-Eissenstein, to the “oe24” portal. The discussion can still be viewed calmly. Ludwig Heiner saw the Katholikentag as an opportunity to create a product. It is no longer possible to understand whether and what thoughts he had at the time. According to the current boss, a bomb attack during the Second World War destroyed all possible records.

The Kardinalschnitte, on the other hand, has remained and is now one of the most popular desserts in the country; an integral part of every pastry menu. Presumably for this reason, the debate after the “Standard” article quickly made waves. However, the outrage that many people express in online forums is (still) unfounded. The name change of the pastry, which has already been announced in some media, is currently not up for debate.

Sources: “Der Standard”, “Kurier”, “oe24”