Scrapbookpages Blog

November 12, 2010

Nov. 9th and Nov. 11th, important dates in history

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:54 am

Two very important dates in world history are Nov. 9th and Nov. 11th.  I let both of those dates go by without blogging about what happened on those dates.  Why?  Because I thought everyone knows by now what occurred on those dates and there was no need for me to write about it.  I was wrong!

On the night of November 9th and 10th, 1938, the windows in all of the Jewish stores in Germany and Austria were smashed and merchandise was thrown into the street. The Synagogues were set on fire. The name given by the Nazis to this destruction was Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass.

Today I read an article written by Steve and published in the Shrewsbury Lantern on Nov. 11, 2010.  You can read the article here.

In his article, Steve’s basic premise is that Nov. 9th, 1938, the date of Kristallnacht, is a more important date than Nov. 11, 1918, which is the date that the Armistice was signed to end World War I.

His article begins with these words:

Seventy two years ago, the world was changed forever.   Yet, as we publicly mark Veterans Day, and rightly honor those brave men and women who have served our nation in battle, many others privately mark the event that, in many ways, marked the beginning of the end, and precipitated the need for our soldiers to be called upon in the first place.

Sorry, Steve, but I don’t agree that America had a “need” to fight a war against Germany because of Kristallnacht.  In 1938, America had a population that was less than half of what it is now, and there were only around 16 million Jews in the entire world.  America could have allowed all of them to emigrate to America.  There were only 585,000 Jews in Germany in 1933, and even less in 1938, and we could certainly have taken them in, but America didn’t want the Jews.  We didn’t fight World War II to save the Jews of the world.

The synagogue in Berlin was restored after it was damaged on Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht was what was called a “pogrom” in Poland.  The first time I visited Poland, I was told by my tour guide that the word pogrom is a Polish word that means “like thunder.”  This was the name given to the actions of angry civilians when Jews would be driven out of a Polish city. This happened hundreds of times in Poland.  On Nov. 9, 1938, Kristallnacht was an attempt to drive the Jews out of all the cities and towns of Germany and Austria.

To his credit, Steve did explain the reason for the anger of the Germans on Nov. 9, 1938:

On October 18th, 1938, Hitler ordered 12,000 Polish Jews rounded up and marched to the border, where they were expelled.  Troops came in and seized all that was left behind.

On November 6th, 1938, a 17 year old radical named Herschel Grynspyn, retaliating for the expulsion of his family,  fired five shots at the German embassy in Paris, wounding the Ambassador who died three days later. Hitlers retaliation was merciless.  Over 25,000 Jews were arrested and deported to concentration camps like Dachau, where they would be systematically executed. On November 9th and 10th, over 200 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and Poland  were attacked, their windows smashed into bits of “broken glass,” and then the buildings burned to the ground.   The same was done to thousands of Jewish owned storefronts.

Hitler’s order on Oct. 18, 1938 requires some explanation.  Why were there Polish Jews in Germany in 1938?  It was because part of Germany had been given to the new country of Poland in the Treaty of Versailles that was signed after World War I.  Hitler’s order involved German Jews who had wound up in Poland through no fault of their own.  There were also German non-Jews who found themselves in the country of Poland after World War I.  The Poles didn’t want Germans in their new country, so they drove them out.  The non-Jewish Germans lost their homes and their land and were forced to go to what was left of Germany, as were the German Jews.

After Hitler made a new rule in 1935 that Jews could not be citizens of Germany, the Jews from Poland were stateless.  The Poles didn’t want them and neither did the Germans.  In Oct. 1938, Hitler put the Polish Jews on trains which took them toward Poland, but the Poles stopped the returning Jews at the border, where they remained for months, living in tents.  It was only later, after Kristallnacht, that over 25,000 German Jews were arrested and sent to Dachau and other camps, NOT at the time that the Polish Jews were deported, as Steve wrote.

Herschel Grynszpyn was trying to get some attention from the world, for the plight of the stateless Jews living in tents on the Polish border, when he decided to kill the German Ambassador to France.  The ambassador was not there at the time, so Herschel killed another German official at the embassy.  This finally got the attention of the world.

On Kristallnacht, there were around 30,000 Jewish MEN (no women or children) rounded up and sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, the three major concentration camps in Germany.  Most of them were released two weeks later after they promised to leave Germany within 6 months.  The problem was that no country in the world wanted them.  However, they were not executed, as Steve wrote.

After Kristallnacht, there were 10,911 Jews brought to Dachau, after they were taken into “protective custody.”  Another 20,000 Jews were sent to either Sachsenhausen or Buchenwald.

Jewish men in Baden-Baden, Germany were arrested

The photo above shows Jewish men after they were arrested following Kristallnacht. Most of the Jews arrested after Kristallnacht were released within a few weeks after they promised to make arrangements to leave Germany. Around 8,000 of the 30,000 Jews, who were taken into “protective custody,” were allowed to enter Great Britain without a visa and thousands more went to Shanghai, where no visa was required. Altogether, more than 50,000 German Jews found safety in Britain before World War II started, including 10,000 Jewish children, who were sent on Kindertransports, according to Martin Gilbert.

Here is another quote from the article in the Shrewsbury Lantern:

On the day after Kristallnacht, November 11th, Hermann Goehring publicly discussed how the ultimate success of nazi Germany depended on a “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” beyond their own borders, and began plans for what would become a wholesale extermination of millions in camps like Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Sobibor, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka and a host of others.

Buchenwald, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen were not camps for “wholesale extermination.”  The “death camps” were Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno.  On the witness stand during the Nuremberg IMT, Hermann Goering testified that he wanted “the total solution,” not the final solution.  He was talking about the Jewish QUESTION, not the Jewish PROBLEM, as Steve mistakenly wrote.  The Jewish Question was whether the Jews should have their own separate state within the country of Germany, or whether they should assimilate?  This Question had been discussed for years in Germany.

There are two other important events that happened on Nov. 9th: the overthrow of the German government in 1918 and the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

It was on November 9th that the German Kaiser was forced to abdicate in 1918 and the German government was taken over by the SPD (Social Democrats).  Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the Social Democrats, was subsequently installed as the first president of the new Republic, which became known as the Weimar Republic because a German Constitution, modeled after the American Constitution, was written by the Social Democrats in the city of Weimar.

The Social Democratic Workers Party was originally founded by Karl Liebknecht and August Bebel. During World War I, a new militant leftist group formed by Jewish leaders, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, agitated for the overthrow of the Kaiser and the end of the war.

The German war effort was hampered when 300,000 workers went on strike in January 1918. In November 1918 there was a naval mutiny and a strike of the dock workers. Finally, on November 9, 1918, Philipp Scheidemann, the leader of the Social Democrats, proclaimed the first German Republic from a window of the Reichstag building in Berlin.  This was called “a bloodless revolution.”

After World War II ended, German was divided into East and West Germany; the eastern half was Communist.  The city of Berlin, which was in Eastern Germany, was divided into zones and the Berlin wall separated the American zone and the Communist Soviet zone.  It was on Nov. 9, 1989 that the wall came down and Germany was once again united.

A section of the Berlin wall has been preserved

The Armistice which ended World War I was signed by Matthias Erzberger, a representative of the Ebert government, on November 11, 1918, an event which is now celebrated in America as Veterans Day.  This holiday was formerly called Armistice Day.

The Nazis would later call the Social Democrats “the November criminals” and characterize the signing of the Armistice as a “stab in the back” for the German people. For the next 20 years, a controversy would rage between the liberal left and the Nazis over whether or not the German army had been defeated on the battlefield, a claim which Hitler called the “Big Lie.”

Update: Nov. 13, 2010:

I neglected to mention that another important event in German history happened on November 9, 1923.  That was the date that Hitler’s attempt to overthrow the German government was stopped.

On the evening of November 8, 1923, Adolf Hitler announced the start of “the people’s revolution” in the Bürgerbräukeller, a Munich beer hall. Hitler and his supporters then marched through the streets of Munich in an attempt to seize power. This unsuccessful revolution became known as Hitler’s Beer-hall Putsch. The next day, on November 9th, Hitler and two thousand of his followers were stopped by the Munich police on Residenzstrasse in front of the Feldherrenhalle; four policemen and 16 of Hitler’s supporters were killed in the fighting. Hitler fled from the scene, but was later arrested and imprisoned at Landsberg am Lech after a trial in which he was convicted of treason.

The Bürgerbräukeller was torn down years ago, but tourists can still see where the Nazis put a plaque on the Feldherrenhalle to honor the men who were killed there by the police. During the Nazi era, Munich residents were required to do a Nazi salute as they passed the plaque, which has since been removed. Those who did not want to give a salute to the fallen heroes would use Viscardigasse, a back alley which was nicknamed “Evaders’ Alley.”

Odeon Platz in Munich where Hitler’s Putsch was stopped

(Click on photo to enlarge)

3 Comments

  1. Hello. I live in Russia, near Moscow. I had some knowledge of the tragedy of Kristallnacht before visiting your website. I was born on 9 November, so the events of that day really stood out to me.

    Comment by Valeriya Andropova — March 14, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  2. I am still trying to find a proof that camps named Belzec, (pronounced “Belzhets”) Sobibor (pronounced “Sobibour”) and Chelmno have ever existed. So far, I have found nothing that would confirm that there were any “camps” with mass-killing devices in those areas. Treblinka was a transfer camp and Soviet soldiers indeed have found 10 individual graves there. Yes, ten human souls died and were buried in Treblinka. While, every death is a tragedy, not each of those tragedies are written by Shakespeare. People die from many causes and those 10 have probably died from various of them. So, it was 10, not 870,000.
    The Red Cross release of 1984 does not even mention all camps mention above. IRC in Bad Arolsen has no records about jews who were exterminated in those camps, since there are no proofs of the camps even existed. Oh well, they have all the records from Auschwitz and Majdanek. The total number of confirmed death as of 31/12/83 is:
    Auschwitz: 53,633 (52,389 as of 31/12/1977). 1,244 confirmed death increase in six years.
    Lublin (Majdanek): 7,671 (7,187 as of 30/09/1973). 484 confirmed death in eleven years.
    And remember, they have no records of four other “camps” whatsoever.
    There is a very interesting thing about the name “Majdanek”. It derives from a Russian-Jewish criminal lingo which use the Turkish word “Majdan” (‘meydan” (the square). The word “meydan or majdan means a square in a little town. The Polish word for a square is “plac”, as in German it would be der Platz.
    I word “Majdanek”,(a small square) in it’s diminutive form came from the Eastern-European jews.
    This is another proof that the Eastern-European jews are the descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic speaking tribe, who have no bloodline to the jews described in the Bible

    Comment by Gasan — November 12, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  3. Circumstances leading up to Kristallnacht

    On November 7 1938, Herschel Grynszpan – a 17-year-old unemployed Jew funded by the Jewish activist group LICRA – walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat, five times, killing him. Grynszpan was arrested at the scene and taken to a police station. Although he was a totally obscure Polish Jew with no money and no apparent supporters, one of France’s most famous lawyers, Moro Giafferi, appeared at the police station a few hours after the shooting and told the police that he was Grynszpan’s attorney. Moro Giafferi was the legal counsel of the LICRA, which was founded in Paris in 1933 by the Jew Bernard Lecache and operated as a militant propaganda organization. In February 1936, Giafferi represented the Jew David Frankfurter who had shot and killed Wilhelm Gustloff, the head of the Swiss branch of the German National Socialist Party. During the subsequent trial it was clearly established that Frankfurter had been a hired murderer with backed by LICRA. Grynszpan was never charged.

    The beginnings of the riots

    On 8 November 1938, a day before the Crystal Night riots, strange persons suddenly appeared in several small towns in Hessen near the French-German border. They went to important officials in these towns and asked them what actions were being planned against the Jews, which didn’t make any sense to the officials. The strangers acted as if they were shocked to hear this. They shouted and complained that something had to be done against the Jews and then, without further explanation, they disappeared. The officials regarded the strangers as crazy anti-Semites and promptly forgot about the incidents – until the next evening.

    Next evening, two men, dressed as SS members, went to an SA Standartenfuehrer (Colonel) and ordered him to destroy the nearby synagogue, oblivious to the fact that the SS and SA were completely separate organizations, and an SS member would never have tried to give orders to an SA unit. These two men obviously did not know about the distinctions of German authority. The SA Standartenfuehrer rejected the demands of the self-styled SS men and reported the incident to his superiors.

    Several district and local Party leaders (Kreisleiters and Ortsgruppenleiters) were awakened from their sleep in the middle of the night by telephone calls. Someone claiming to be from the regional Party headquarters or the regional Party propaganda bureau (Gauleitung or Gaupropagandaleitung) would ask what was happening in the official’s town or city. If the Party official answered “Nothing, everything is quiet,” the telephone caller would then say in German slang that he had received an order to the effect that the Jews were going to get it tonight and that the respective official should carry out the order. In most cases the Party leader, disturbed from his sleep, did not even understand what had happened. Some simply dismissed the call as a joke and went back to bed.

    Others called back the office from where the telephone voice had pretended to be calling. If they managed to reach someone in charge, they were often told that nobody knew anything about such a call. But if they reached only a lower official they were often told: “Well, if you got that order, you’d better go ahead and do what you were told.” These telephone calls caused considerable confusion. All this came out months later during the trials conducted by the Supreme Party Court. The Chief Judge concluded that in every case a misunderstanding had arisen in one link or other of the chain of command. But when they were confronted with apparently genuine orders to organize demonstrations against the Jews that night, most of the Party leaders had simply not known what to do.

    The riots underway

    When the provocateurs realized that their efforts were not working with local officials, they changed their tactics. They tried to directly incite the people in the streets. In another town, for example, two men appeared at the market place and began making speeches to the people there, trying to incite them against the Jews. Eventually some people did indeed storm the synagogue, but by then the two provocateurs had, of course, disappeared. Similar incidents occurred in several towns. Unidentified strangers suddenly appeared, gave speeches, started throwing stones at windows, stormed Jewish buildings, schools, hospitals and synagogues, and then disappeared.

    These unusual incidents had already started on the 8th of November, before Ernst vom Rath was dead. Rath’s death was only reported late on the evening of the 9th. It should be clear that the death of vom Rath was not the reason for the Crystal Night riots.

    The pattern of seemingly sporadic anti-Jewish incidents in small towns, followed only later by a carefully planned outburst in many large cities throughout Germany, clearly suggests the work of a centrally organized group of well-trained agents. Well organized and widespread incidents began on the evening of 9 November. Groups of generally five or six young men, armed with bars and clubs, went down the streets smashing store windows. They were not Jew-hating SA men, enraged over the murder of a German diplomat. They operated too methodically to have been motivated by anger. They carried out their work without any apparent emotion. Even shortly after the Crystal Night, many leading Party officials suspected that the entire affair had been centrally coordinated. Nonetheless, it was their destruction that encouraged some individuals from the lowest social classes to become a mob and continue the destruction. Significantly, even Hermann Graml, the only West German historian who has written in detail about the Crystal Night, carefully distinguished between provocateurs and people who were simply carried away by their emotions and spontaneously took part in the riot and destruction.

    The “official” version is that “all” synagogues were demolished and that “all” shop windows were destroyed. Aside from this vague description, one is given almost no details.

    Jews not fazed

    The official version is that during the Crystal Night riots, all Jews were frightened and meekly accepted whatever happened to them, watching the destruction of their property with no resistance. However, many Jews and their German neighbors fought together against the attackers, pushing them down staircases. Street mobs were beaten up and chased away in more than one case.

    Police and Party officials were generally on the side of the Jews. Some Jewish community leaders went to police stations the next morning and asked the police to investigate the damage done to their synagogues. The resulting police reports are still available in the files today.

    Jews weren’t fazed by the attacks. Contrary to what we have been told, most Jews were not directly affected by these events. In Berlin, for example, all of the teachers and pupils of the city’s largest Jewish school, which served the entire Berlin area, appeared in their classes the next morning without having noticed anything unusual during the previous night. Heinemann Stern, the Jewish principal of that school, wrote in his postwar memoirs that he noticed a burning synagogue on his way to the school on the morning after the Crystal Night, but he thought it was just an accidental fire. It was only after he arrived at the school that he received a telephone call informing him of the destruction of the previous night. He then went on with his classes of the day and only during the first recess did he take the trouble to inform the entire student body about what had happened.

    However, Jewish historians wrote: “Every single Jew was beaten, chased, robbed, insulted and humiliated. The SA tore the Jews from their beds, mercilessly beat them in their apartments and then … chased them almost to death … Blood flowed everywhere.”

    In the wake of the Crystal Night riots, almost everyone wanted to know who the culprits were. Dr. Goebbels expressed his suspicion that a secret organization must have instigated the entire affair. He simply could not believe that anything so well organized could have been a spontaneous popular outburst.

    Apparently to avoid internal wrangling and the harm that this would do to their public image, an investigation to determine the instigators never took place. Hitler believed that Dr. Goebbels, his closest confidant and the one man he could never abandon, had been the instigator.

    The only persons actually punished were individual SA men who had participated directly in the pogrom and been accused in German courts of murder, assault, looting or other criminal acts by Jewish or German witnesses to these crimes. But before any of these cases ever actually came to trail, Hitler issued a special decree ordering the postponement of all such cases until after the accused individuals were first prosecuted by the Supreme Party Court, an internal court concerned with discipline within the National Socialist Party organization.

    Why was the 9th of November chosen?

    On 9 November 1923, a movement led by Adolf Hitler, Erich von Ludendorff (a leading First World War General) and two major figures in the Bavarian government tried to depose the legal government and take control, but this uprising was put down and 16 rebels shot next to the Feldherrnhalle, a famous old monument building in central Munich. Accordingly, the 9th of November had been commemorated every year since 1933 as the memorial day for the martyred heroes of the National Socialist movement. Adolf Hitler and the Party veterans, as well as all of the Gauleiters (regional Party leaders) met every year in Munich for the occasion. Hitler would usually deliver a speech to a select audience of Party veterans at the famous Buergerbraeukeller restaurant on the evening of the 8th.

    On the morning of the 9th, Hitler and his veteran comrades would reenact the 1923 “March to the Feldherrnhalle.” On the evening of the 9th, Hitler always held an informal dinner at the Old Town Hall (“Alte Rathaus”) with old comrades as well as all the Gauleiters. At midnight, young men who were about to enter the SS and the SA were sworn in at the Feldherrnhalle. All of the Gauleiters and other guests participated in this very solemn ceremony. After it was over they left Munich and returned to their homes throughout the Reich. It should now be clear why the 9th of November was chosen…all of the Gauleiters would be away from their home offices on this day, leaving the actual decision-making responsibilities that were normally carried out by the Gauleiters to lower-ranking individuals with less experience.

    Between 8 and 10 November, subordinate officials stood in for the Gauleiters who were either in Munich or en route to or from the annual commemoration there. This temporary transfer of decision-making authority is very important because it contributed to much of the subsequent confusion and thus helped the provocateurs. Another contributing factor was the fact that no one expected any trouble. At that time Germany was one of the most peaceful countries in the world.

    What was Goebbels doing?

    It was only during dinner at the Old Town Hall that the first sporadic reports of riot and destruction reached Munich from some of the Gauleiter’s home offices. At the same time it was learned that Ernst vom Rath had died in Paris from his wounds. After the dinner was over, Hitler left at about 9 p.m. and returned to his apartment. Dr. Goebbels then stood up and spoke briefly about the latest news. He informed the audience that vom Rath had died and that, as a result, anti-Jewish demonstrations had spontaneously broken out in two or three places. Goebbels was renowned for his passionate and inspiring speeches. But what he gave that evening was not a speech at all but only a short and very informal announcement. He suggested that the Gauleiters and the head of the SA, Viktor Lutze, should contact their home offices to make sure that peace and order were being maintained.

    Jews claim that Goebbels started the Crystal Night pogrom with a fiery speech on that evening of 9 November! This was not possible. His speech, given after 9 p.m. on the evening of 9 November, could not have incited a “pogrom” which had already begun the day before when the first provocateurs appeared at municipal and Party offices to persuade officials to take action against the Jews.

    As Gauleiter for Berlin, Dr. Goebbels had no authority outside of Berlin. Although he was also the Propaganda Minister of the German government, this did not give him any authority over Party officials. Furthermore, he had no authority whatsoever over the SA or the SS.

    Goebbels understood the riots damaged the Reich’s international standing. Of all the National Socialist leaders, Dr. Goebbels would have understood better than anyone else the immense damage that an anti-Jewish pogrom would cause for Germany. On the morning of 10 November, when he first learned about the extent of the damage and destruction of the previous night, he was furious and shocked at the stupidity of those who had participated.

    Orders to stop the pogrom

    The Gauleiters and the SA commander phoned their respective home offices to order their subordinates to do everything necessary to maintain peace and order. They emphasized that under no circumstances must anyone take part in any demonstrations. These telephone instructions were written down at the home offices by whoever was on duty. The orders from each Gauleiter were then passed on by telex to other offices within the Gau or district. These telex messages are still in various records files and are available to anyone who wishes to examine them.

    While the Gauleiters were calling their home offices, the head of the SA, Viktor Lutze, ordered all of his immediate subordinates, the SA Gruppenfuehrers, who were together with him in Munich, to call their home offices as well. Lutze ordered that under no circumstances could SA men take part in any demonstrations against Jews, and that the SA was to intervene to stop any demonstrations already in progress.

    As a result of these strict orders, SA men began to guard Jewish stores that very night wherever windows had been broken. There is no doubt about this order by Lutze because we have the postwar court testimony of several witnesses confirming it. The SS and the police were given similar orders to restore peace and order.

    Himmler ordered Reinhard Heydrich to prevent all destruction of property and to protect Jews against demonstrators. The telex communication of this order still exists. It is in the files of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. However, during the Nuremberg trial this telex order was presented in three different forms, with forged amendments to change the original meaning.

    Adolf Hitler joined the midnight celebration at the Feldherrnhalle. It was only after he returned to his apartment about one o’clock in the morning that he learned about the demonstrations which had been taking place in Munich, during which one synagogue had been set on fire. He was furious and immediately ordered the police chief of Munich to come see him. Hitler told him to immediately stop the fire and to make sure that no other outrages took place in Munich. He then called various police and Party officials throughout the Reich to learn the extent of these demonstrations. Finally, he ordered a telex message sent to all Gauleiter offices. It read: “By express order from the very highest authority, arson against Jewish businesses or other property must in no case and under no circumstances take place.” Synagogues were not specifically mentioned, apparently because Hitler was still unaware of the burning of synagogues, apart from the one in Munich.

    How did the SA get involved despite the orders from its own leaders?
    According to the records, at least three of the 28 SA Groups did not obey the orders of SA chief Lutze. Instead, they sent out their men to destroy synagogues and Jewish buildings. In effect they did precisely the opposite of what Lutze had ordered. What actually happened is clear from the testimony and evidence presented at postwar trials against former SA men accused of participating in the riot.

    The trials, held between 1946 and 1952, were based to a large extent on the report of SA Brigade 50 chief Karl Lucke, which begins: “On 10 November 1938, at 3 o’clock in the morning, I received the following order: ‘By order of the Gruppenfuehrer, all Jewish synagogues within the Brigade district are to be immediately blown up or set on fire’.” Lucke then included in his report a listing of synagogues which had been destroyed by members of his Brigade. This report has been cited by the prosecution at the Nuremberg Tribunal and by practically all of the consensus historians ever since as proof that the SA was given orders to destroy Jewish stores and synagogues.

    Lutze ordered the Group leaders to contact their home offices to stop all anti-Jewish demonstrations. Fust, along with the other SA leaders, did just that. He called his office in Mannheim and passed on the orders he had received from Lutze. The man who was on duty that night at the Mannheim SA office telephone and who received Fust’s order confirmed that he understood it and then hung up. But he never passed on the order he had received. Instead, he transmitted precisely the opposite order.

    The normal procedure would have been for the man on duty at the telephone to immediately call the deputy group leader, Lucke, who was in nearby Darmstadt. But instead he called SA Oberfuehrer (senior colonel) Fritsch and asked him to come to the office. Fritsch had a reputation for not being particularly clever. When he arrived, the man who had received the telephone call showed him a small paper slip with a few notes on it which said that the synagogues within the Mannheim SA Group district were to be destroyed.

    The man who had received the call explained to Fritsch that the order had just arrived from Munich. Slow-minded as he was, Fritsch did not know what to do and called the local Kreisleiter (district Party leader) and his deputy. These two men then arrived at the SA office and discussed the situation, while at the same time the telephone duty man notified other SA leaders, but still not the deputy Group leader Lucke. In the meantime the small paper slip disappeared and the SA men now arriving at the headquarters met only the Kreisleiter, who told them about the order which he thought had come from Munich. No one asked for any further confirmation. The SA men then left to begin the destruction. Hours later, when the whole action was almost finished, the telephone guard finally called Deputy Group Leader Lucke and passed on the false order. He also informed Lucke that the action had already been going on for several hours. Since it was almost all over by this time, Lucke also neglected to ask for confirmation of the order. It was already 3 o’clock in the morning. Lucke then alerted the Standartenfuehrer of his Brigade and carried out the destruction within the Darmstadt district.

    At 8 o’clock the next morning, Lucke sat down and wrote the report which was later cited at the Nuremberg Tribunal. In fact, as already shown, there was no order to commit arson or carry out destruction against any Jewish property from the Gruppenfuehrer in Munich, but only from the telephone guard. Who he was remains a mystery. During the postwar trials against members of this SA unit, none of the judges asked for the name or identity of this telephone guard. This mysterious man was very probably an agent for those who were actually behind the entire Crystal Night Affair.

    The Fine Imposed on the Jews

    German government and Party officials were furious about what had happened. Hermann Goering, who was responsible for Germany’s economy, complained that it would be impossible to replace the special plate glass of the broken store windows because it was not manufactured in Germany. It had to be imported from Belgium and would cost a great deal of precious foreign currency.

    Because of the Jewish boycott against German goods, the Reich was short of foreign exchange currency. Goering therefore decided that because this shortage was caused by the Jews, it was they who would have to pay for the broken glass. He imposed a fine of one billion Reichsmarks on the German Jews.

    It was certainly unjust to force Jews to pay for damage which they had not caused. Goering understood this. However, in private he justified the fine by citing the fact that the 1933 Jewish declaration of war against Germany was proclaimed in the name of the millions of Jews throughout the world. Therefore, they could now help their co-religionists in Germany bear the consequences of the boycott. It should also be pointed out that only German Jews with assets of more than 5,000 Reichsmarks in cash had to contribute to the fine. In 1938, when prices were very low, 5,000 Reichsmarks was a small fortune. The Reich confiscated all insurance payments that were to have been paid to Jews whose businesses and homes were looted or destroyed, and the Jewish owners were made personally responsible for the cost of all repairs

    Comment by Gasan — November 12, 2010 @ 10:55 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: