Jews in Nazi Germany

At the beginning of the 19th centuty there was a considerable amount of anti-Semitism in Europe. This was reflected in the speeches and writings of Adolf Hitler. In the 25 point programme drawn up by Hitler and Anton Drexler in 1920 for the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) it stated that "Citizenship is to be determined by race; no Jew to be a German." (1)

In Mein Kampf. Hitler argued "It is Jews who govern the Stock Exchange forces of the American union. Every year makes them more and more the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty millions; only a single great man, Ford, to their fury, still maintains full independence." (2)

Hitler argued that the German (he wrongly described them as the Aryan race) was superior to all others. He went on to say that Aryan superiority was being threatened particularly by the Jewish race who, he argued, were lazy and had contributed little to world civilization. (Hitler ignored the fact that some of his favourite composers and musicians were Jewish). He claimed that the "Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end satanically glaring at and spying on the unconscious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate." (3)

According to Hitler, Jews were responsible for everything he did not like, including modern art, pornography and prostitution. Hitler also alleged that the Jews had been responsible for losing the First World War. Hitler also claimed that Jews, who were only about 1% of the population, were slowly taking over the country. They were doing this by controlling the largest political party in Germany, the German Social Democrat Party, many of the leading companies and several of the country's newspapers. The fact that Jews had achieved prominent positions in a democratic society was, according to Hitler, an argument against democracy: "a hundred blockheads do not equal one man in wisdom." (4)

Jews and Communism

Adolf Hitler argued that the Jews were involved with Communists in a joint conspiracy to take over the world. Like Henry Ford, Hitler claimed that 75% of all Communists were Jews. Hitler argued that the combination of Jews and Marxists had already been successful in Russia and now threatened the rest of Europe. He argued that the communist revolution was an act of revenge that attempted to disguise the inferiority of the Jews. This is not supported by the facts. At the time of the Russian Revolution there were only seven million Jews among the total Russian population of 136 million. Although police statistics showed the ratio of Jews participating in the revolutionary movement to the total Jewish population was six times that of the other nationalities in Russia, they were no way near the figures suggested by Hitler and Ford. Lenin admitted that "Jews provided a particularly high percentage of leaders of the revolutionary movement". He explained this by arguing "to their credit that today Jews provide a relatively high percentage of representatives of internationalism compared with other nations." (5)

At the Social Democratic Party in London in 1903, 25 out of 55 delegates were Jews. Of the 350 delegates in the 1907 congress, nearly a third were Jews. However, an important point which the anti-Semites overlooked is that of the Jewish delegates supported the Mensheviks, whereas only 10% supported the Bolsheviks, who led the revolution in 1917. According to a party census carried out in 1922, Jews made up 7.1% of members who had joined before the revolution. Jewish leaders of the revolutionary period, Leon Trotsky, Gregory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Karl Radek, Grigori Sokolnikov and Genrikh Yagoda were all purged by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. (6)

In Mein Kampf Hitler declared that: "The external security of a people in largely determined by the size of its territory. If he won power Hitler promised to occupy Russian land that would provide protection and lebensraum (living space) for the German people. This action would help to destroy the Jewish/Marxist attempt to control the world: "The Russian Empire in the East is ripe for collapse; and the end of the Jewish domination of Russia will also be the end of Russia as a state." (7)

Persecution of Jews

After the 1933 General Election, Chancellor Hitler proposed an Enabling Bill that would give him dictatorial powers. Such an act needed three-quarters of the members of the Reichstag to vote in its favour. All the active members of the Communist Party (KPD) were in prison, in hiding, or had left the country (an estimated 60,000 people left Germany during the first few weeks after the election). This was also true of most of the leaders of the other left-wing party, Social Democrat Party (SDP). However, Hitler still needed the support of the Catholic Centre Party (BVP) to pass this legislation. Hitler therefore offered the BVP a deal: vote for the bill and the Nazi government would guarantee the rights of the Catholic Church. The BVP agreed and when the vote was taken on 24th March, 1933, only 94 members voted against the Enabling Bill. (8)

Timothy D. Snyder, the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) pointed out that as soon as he gained power in 1933, the first people Hitler had arrested were members of the two political parties, Social Democrat Party (SDP) and the Communist Party (KPD), who had encouraged their members to reject the anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party. "Hitler's anti-communism was more pertinent to domestic politics than his anti-Semitism. To control the German state, he would have to break the communists and the social democrats. " (9)

Soon afterwards the Communist Party and the Social Democrat Party became banned organisations. Party activists still in the country were arrested. A month later Hitler announced that the Catholic Centre Party, the Nationalist Party and all other political parties other than the NSDAP were illegal, and by the end of 1933 over 150,000 political prisoners were in concentration camps. Hitler was aware that people have a great fear of the unknown, and if prisoners were released, they were warned that if they told anyone of their experiences they would be sent back to the camp. (10)

Boycott of Jewish Shops

Once in power Adolf Hitler began to openly express anti-Semitic ideas. Based on his readings of how blacks were denied civil rights in the southern states in America, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The day after the March, 1933, election, stormtroopers hunted down Jews in Berlin and gave them savage beatings. Synagogues were trashed and all over Germany gangs of brownshirts attacked Jews. In the first three months of Hitler rule, over forty Jews were murdered. (11)

The campaign started on 1st April, 1933, when a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Otto Dibelius, the Bishop of Kurmark stated that he had always been "an anti-semite" and that "one cannot fail to appreciate that in all of the corrosive manifestations of modern civilization Jewry plays a leading role". (12)

Members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful. As a child Christa Wolf watched the SA organize the boycott of Jewish businesses. "A pair of SA men stood outside the door of the Jewish shops, next to the white enamel plate, and prevented anyone who could not prove that he lived in the building from entering and baring his Aryan body before non-Aryan eyes." (13)

Armin Hertz was only nine years old at the time of the boycott. His parents owned a furniture store in Berlin. "After Hitler came to power, there was the boycott in April of that year. I remember that very vividly because I saw the Nazi Party members in their brown uniforms and armbands standing in front of our store with signs: "Kauft nicht bei Juden" (Don't buy from Jews). That of course, was very frightening to us. Nobody entered the shop. As a matter of fact, there was a competitor across the street - she must have been a member of the Nazi Party already by then - who used to come over and chase people away." (14)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
The sign reads: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage
the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages.
The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.” (1st April, 1933)

Helga Schmidt was only 12 years old when Adolf Hitler came to power. She remembers at school in Dresden that German children were encouraged to hate the Jews. "Certainly there was something of a negative attitude toward the Jews, but before Hitler it did not exist to the same extent. One tolerated them. One let them live. There was never any particular sympathy for the Jews. But to directly label them as our enemies and exploiters, that came from Hitler... and when that has been pounded into people's heads, people will also believe it." However, Helga and her family continued to shop in them "because they were less expensive than other stores." (15)

The hostility towards Jews increased in Nazi Germany. This was reflected in the decision by many shops and restaurants not to serve the Jewish population. Placards saying "Jews not admitted" and "Jews enter this place at their own risk" began to appear all over Germany. In some parts of the country Jews were banned from public parks, swimming-pools and public transport. (16)

Children and Anti-Semitism

The Hitler Youth and the German Girls' League (BDM) played an important role in developing anti-semitism in German schools. Hildegard Koch and her BDM friends began a campaign against the Jewish girls in her class. "The two Jewish girls in our form were racially typical. One was saucy and forward and always knew best about everything. She was ambitious and pushing and had a real Jewish cheek. The other was quiet, cowardly and smarmy and dishonest; she was the other type of Jew, the sly sort. We knew we were right to have nothing to do with either of them. In the end we got what we wanted. We began by chalking Jews out! or Jews perish, Germany awake! on the blackboard before class. Later we openly boycotted them. Of course, they blubbered in their cowardly Jewish way and tried to get sympathy for themselves, but we weren't having any. In the end three other girls and I went to the Headmaster and told him that our Leader would report the matter to the Party authorities unless he removed this stain from the school. The next day the two girls stayed away, which made me very proud of what we had done." (17)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Illustration from a German textbook used by primary schools. An example
of the propaganda campaign against the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. (c. 1934)

Jewish children in German schools suffered terribly from bullying: "The children called me Judenschwein (Jewish pig)... When I came home I was crying and said, What is a Judenschwein? Who am I? I didn't know who I was. I was only a kid. I didn't know what I was, Jew or not Jew. There were many times when I was beaten up coming from school. I remember one teacher who had something against me because I was a Jew in his class. Every time when I must have been unruly, he used to pull me up front and bend me over and whip me with a bamboo stick." (18)

Josef Stone went to a Jewish school to avoid bullying but he was still targeted by German children while playing in the streets of Frankfurt: "Germans looked at Jews in a sort of bad way.... Children always gave me a hard time. They wouldn't hit me, they just annoyed me with words and yelled obscene things at me. But, at that time, I was too young to even fathom the whole idea. I didn't really get involved until I would say thirteen or fourteen. By that time I started realizing what really was going on, and my parents started to say that eventually we would all have to leave." (19)

Members of the SA put pressure on people not to buy goods produced by Jewish companies. For example, the Ullstein Verlag, the largest publisher of newspapers, books and magazines in Germany, was forced to sell the company to the NSDAP in 1934 after the actions of the SA had made it impossible for them to make a profit. Germans were also encouraged not to use Jewish doctors and lawyers. Jewish civil servants, teachers and those employed by the mass media were sacked. In the 12 months of Hitler taking power, over 40,000 Jewish people left Germany. (20)

Nuremberg Laws

The number of Jews emigrating increased after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race in 1935. The first Reich Law of Citizenship divided people in Germany into two categories. The citizen of "pure German blood" and the rest of the population. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour forbade intermarrying between the two groups. Some 250 decrees followed these laws. These excluded Jews from official positions and professions. They were also forced to wear the "Star of David". (21)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Stormtroopers organizing boycott of Jewish shops

Christa Wolf remembers hearing Joseph Goebbels give a speech on the radio in 1937 about the Jews: "Without fear we may point to the Jew as the motivator, the originator, and the beneficiary of this horrible catastrophe. Behold the enemy of the world, the annihilator of cultures, the parasite among nations, the son of chaos, the incarnation of evil, the ferment of decay, the formative demon of mankind's downfall." She grew up believing that the "Jews are different from us... Jews must be feared, even if one can't hate them." (22)

Adolf Hitler urged Jews to leave Germany. One of the major reasons why so many refused was that they were unable to take their money with them. Hitler arranged for 52,000 to emigrate to Palestine. To encourage them to go the German government allowed "Jews who left for Palestine to transfer a significant portion of their assets there... while those who left for other countries had to leave much of what they owned behind". Richard Evans has argued: "The reasons for the Nazis' favoured treatment of emigrants to Palestine were complex. On the one hand, they regarded the Zionist movement as a significant part of the world Jewish conspiracy they had dedicated their lives to destroying. On the other, helping Jewish emigration to Palestine might mitigate international criticism of anti-semitic measures at home." (23)

As Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, the authors of Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) have pointed out: "After five years of National Socialism, the German government angrily acknowledged that threats and intimidation had not rid the Reich of its Jews. About a quarter of the total had fled but the other three-quarters still preferred to stay in Germany. The government concluded that it would have to change tactics in order to obtain better results." (24)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)

On 6th July 1938, a conference of 32 nations met at Evian in France to discuss the growing international problem of Jewish migration. The conference made an attempt to impose general agreed guidelines on accepting Jews from Nazi Germany. According to Richard Evans, the author of The Third Reich in Power (2005): "One delegation after another at the conference made it clear that it would not liberalize its policy towards refugees; if anything, it would tighten things up... Anti-immigrant sentiment in many countries, complete with rhetoric about being 'swamped' by people of 'alien' culture, contributed further to this growing reluctance." (25)

Ernst vom Rath was murdered by Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jewish refugee in Paris on 9th November, 1938. At a meeting of Nazi Party leaders that evening, Joseph Goebbels suggested that there should be "spontaneous" anti-Jewish riots. (26) Reinhard Heydrich sent urgent guidelines to all police headquarters suggesting how they could start these disturbances. He ordered the destruction of all Jewish places of worship in Germany. Heydrich also gave instructions that the police should not interfere with demonstrations and surrounding buildings must not be damaged when burning synagogues. (27)

Heinrich Mueller, head of the Secret Political Police, sent out an order to all regional and local commanders of the state police: "(i) Operations against Jews, in particular against their synagogues will commence very soon throughout Germany. There must be no interference. However, arrangements should be made, in consultation with the General Police, to prevent looting and other excesses. (ii) Any vital archival material that might be in the synagogues must be secured by the fastest possible means. (iii) Preparations must be made for the arrest of from 20,000 to 30,000 Jews within the Reich. In particular, affluent Jews are to be selected. Further directives will be forthcoming during the course of the night. (iv) Should Jews be found in the possession of weapons during the impending operations the most severe measures must be taken. SS Verfuegungstruppen and general SS may be called in for the overall operations. The State Police must under all circumstances maintain control of the operations by taking appropriate measures." (28)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Youths attacking Jewish shops (9th November, 1938)

A large number of young people took part in what became known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). (29) Erich Dressler was a member of the Hitler Youth in Berlin. "Of course, following the rise of our new ideology, international Jewry was boiling, with rage and it was perhaps not surprising that, in November, 1938, one of them took his vengeance on a counsellor of the German Legation in Paris. The consequence of this foul murder was a wave of indignation in Germany. Jewish shops were boycotted and smashed and the synagogues, the cradles of the infamous Jewish doctrines, went up in flames. These measures were by no means as spontaneous as they appeared. On the night the murder was announced in Berlin I was busy at our headquarters. Although it was very late the entire leadership staff were there in assembly, the Bann Leader and about two dozen others, of all ranks.... I had no idea what it was all about, and was thrilled to learn that were to go into action that very night. Dressed in civilian clothes we were to demolish the Jewish shops in our district for which we had a list supplied by the Gau headquarters of the NSKK, who were also in civilian clothes. We were to concentrate on the shops. Cases of serious resistance on the part of the Jews were to be dealt with by the SA men who would also attend to the synagogues." (30)

Paul Briscoe, the son of Norah Briscoe, a member of the National Union of Fascists, had been educated in Nazi Germany and was living in the small town of Miltenberg: "At first, I thought I was dreaming, but then the rhythmic, rumbling roar that had been growing inside my head became too loud to be contained by sleep. I sat up to break its hold, but the noise got louder still. There was something monstrous outside my bedroom window. I was only eight years old, and I was afraid. It was the sound of voices - shouting, ranting, chanting. I couldn't make out the words, but the hatred in the tone was unmistakable. There was also - and this puzzled me - excitement. For all my fear, I was drawn across the room to the window. I made a crack in the curtains and peered out. Below me, the triangular medieval marketplace had been flooded by a sea of heads, and flames were bobbing and floating between the caps and hats. The mob had come to Miltenberg, carrying firebrands, cudgels and sticks."

Crystal Night (Kristallnacht) in November 1938
Jewish shop after Kristallnacht (10th November 1938)

Paul Briscoe could hear the crowd chanting "Jews out! Jews out!" In his autobiography, My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (2007) Briscoe recalled: "I didn't understand it. The shop was owned by Mira. Everybody in Miltenberg knew her. Mira wasn't a Jew, she was a person. She was Jewish, yes, but not like the Jews. They were dirty, subhuman, money-grubbing parasites - every schoolboy knew that - but Mira was - well, Mira: a little old woman who was polite and friendly if you spoke to her, but generally kept herself to herself. But the crowd didn't seem to know this: they must be outsiders. Nobody in Miltenberg could possibly have made such a mistake. I was frightened for her.... A crash rang out. Someone had put a brick through her shop window. The top half of the pane hung for a moment, like a jagged guillotine, then fell to the pavement below. The crowd roared its approval." (31)

Armin Hertz was 14 years old in 1938. His parents owned a furniture store in Berlin. He later explained what happened that night: "During the Kristallnacht, our store was destroyed, glass was broken, the synagogues were set on fire. There was a synagogue in the same street where we lived. It was on the first floor of a commercial building; downstairs were stores, and upstairs was a synagogue. In the back of that building, there was a factory so they could not set that synagogue on fire because people were living and working there. But they threw everything out of the window - the Torah scrolls, the prayer books, the benches, everything was lying in the street." (32)

The Hitler File
Jewish shop-owner sweep up broken glass. (10th November 1938)

Some people in Germany attempted to help the Jews on Kristallnacht. Susanne von der Borch lived in Munich. She was woken by the sounds of people screaming: "My mother was at the window. I sat up and saw the house opposite in flames. I heard someone screaming, Help! Why doesn't anyone help us? and I asked my mother, Why is the house burning, where are the fire brigades, why are the people screaming? And she just said, Stay in bed." Her mother left the house. "After a longtime, my mother came back. She had fifteen people with her. I was shocked because they were in nightgowns and slippers, or just a light coat. And I could see they were all our Jewish neighbours. She took them into the music room and my brother and I were told, Be quiet and don't move. My mother was very strict, so we didn't move. And we heard our mother phoning people up, and my sister was sent here and there to get drinks for them. Then these people were driven away by our chauffeur to relatives or friends." (33)

Inge Neuberger was an eight-year-old girl who lived in Mannheim. She later recalled that while walking to a Jewish school with her cousin the next morning: "We saw a bonfire in the courtyard in front of the synagogue. Many spectators were watching as prayer books and, I believe, Torah scrolls were burned. The windows had been shattered and furniture had been smashed and added to the pyre. We were absolutely terrified. I am fairly certain that the fire department was in attendance, but no attempt was made to extinguish the flames. We ran back to my home to tell my mother what we had seen. She told us that we would leave the apartment and spend the day in Luisenpark, a very large park in town. We spent the entire day in the park, moving from one area to another." (34)

Melita Maschmann was in Berlin that night and "had to pick her way through pieces of broken glass and furniture scattered all over the street". Maschmann asked a policeman what had happened. The policeman’s reply was “In this street they’re almost all Jews.” When he was questioned further he added: “Last night the National Soul boiled over.” She now decided that the "Jews are the enemies of the new Germany. Last night they had a taste of what that means." (35) Despite these comments Maschmann later claimed that, "like many of her upper-middle-class friends, she discounted the violence and anti-semitism of the National Socialist as passing excesses which would soon disappear". (36)

A British journalist, Hugh Carleton Greene, was shocked by what he saw the following morning: "Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the 'fun'. Women who remonstrated with children who were running away with toys looted from a wrecked Jewish shop were spat on and attacked by the mob. There were remarkably few policemen on the streets. Those who were there, when their attention was drawn to the outrages which were proceeding before their eyes, shrugged their shoulders and refused to take any action. Several hundred Jewish shopkeepers were, however, put under 'protective custody' for attempting to shield their property. A state of hopeless panic reigns tonight throughout Jewish circles. Hundreds of Jews have gone into hiding and many businessmen and financial experts of international repute have not dared to sleep in their own homes." (37)

Inge Fehr went to school the next day but was immediately told that she had to return home. "Our headmistress told us a pogrom was in progress. We had to evacuate because members of the Hitler Youth carrying stones were gathering at the front and they were setting other buildings alight. We were all to leave quickly by the back door and not to return to school until further notice. On my way home, I followed the smoke and arrived at the synagogue in the Fasanenstrasse which had been set alight. Crowds were watching from the opposite pavement. I then passed through the Tauentzienstrasse where I saw crowds smashing Jewish shop windows and jeering as the owners tried to salvage their goods. When I got to our house I saw that our chauffeur, who had worked for us for years, had painted Fehr Jude in red paint on the pavement outside." (38)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Jewish prisoners being paraded in Baden-Baden (November, 1938)

Armin Hertz was asked my his mother to find out about her sister because she had two little children and in the back of the building where she lived there was also a synagogue. "Get your bicycle and go to Aunt Bertha to see what's going on." Soon after he left home he became aware of the damage that had taken place. "As I was riding along the business district, I saw all the stores destroyed, windows broken, everything lying in the street. They were even going into the stores and running away with the merchandise. Finally, I got to my aunt's house and I saw a large crowd assembled in front of the store. The fire department was there; the police were there. The fire department was pouring water on the adjacent building. The synagogue in the back was on fire, but they were not putting the water on the synagogue. The police were there watching it. I mingled with the crowd. I didn't want to be too obvious. I didn't want to get into trouble. But I heard from people talking that the people who lived there were all evacuated, all safe in the neighborhood with friends. So I went right back and reported to my mother. After Kristallnacht our store was destroyed and it was impossible to stay in Berlin." (39)

Effie Engel was living in Dresden in November 1938. "Just across from us there was a small fabric store that had a Jewish owner. You knew that because of his name. I was still an apprentice at the time of the Kristallnacht, when the Nazis, especially the SA, went around the city destroying all the shops. And those of us in our office were in the immediate vicinity when we watched them smashing up that shop over there across from us. The owner, who was a small, elderly man, and his wife were intimidated and just stood by and wept.... After this the shop was closed. They had stolen everything and cleared it out, and then the two Jews were picked up and they disappeared and never showed up again." (40)

Reinhard Heydrich ordered members of the Gestapo to make arrests following Kristallnacht. "As soon as the course of events during the night permits the release of the officials required, as many Jews in all districts, especially the rich, as can be accommodated in existing prisons are to be arrested. For the time being only healthy male Jews, who are not too old, are to be detained. After the detentions have been carried out the appropriate concentration camps are to be contracted immediately for the prompt accommodation of the Jews in the camps." (41)

Josef Stone was one of those arrested. "Early in the morning I was walking down the street and two SA men came to me and stopped me. 'Come with us,' they said. I didn't know them; they didn't know me, but they must have known I was a Jew. I don't know how they knew, but they knew. They kept me for the rest of the day, but by the evening they let me go. Then, on my way home, I saw all the destruction on the streets." (42) Inge Neuberger remembers her father going into hiding and "spent the next six weeks in the attic of our building. I was given strict orders that if anyone asked about my father's whereabouts I was to say that I didn't know where he was. I remember how strongly this was impressed on me." (43)

Joseph Goebbels wrote an article for the Völkischer Beobachter where he claimed that Kristallnacht was a spontaneous outbreak of feeling: "The outbreak of fury by the people on the night of November 9-10 shows the patience of the German people has now been exhausted. It was neither organized nor prepared but it broke out spontaneously." (44) However, Erich Dressler, who had taken part in the riots, was disappointed by the lack of passion displayed that night: "One thing seriously perturbed me. All these measures had to be ordered from above. There was no sign of healthy indignation or rage amongst the average Germans. It is undoubtedly a commendable German virtue to keep one's feelings under control and not just to hit out as one pleases; but where the guilt of the Jews for this cowardly murder was obvious and proved, the people might well have shown a little more spirit." (45)

On 11th November, 1938, Reinhard Heydrich reported to Hermann Göring, details of the night of terror: "74 Jews killed or seriously injured, 20,000 arrested, 815 shops and 171 homes destroyed, 191 synagogues set on fire; total damage costing 25 million marks, of which over 5 million was for broken glass." (46) It was decided that the "Jews would have to pay for the damage they had provoked. A fine of 1 billion marks was levied for the slaying of Vom Rath, and 6 million marks paid by insurance companies for broken windows was to be given to the state coffers." (47)

David Buffum, the American Consul in Leipzig, reported: "The shattering of shop windows, looting of stores and dwellings of Jews took place in the early hours of 10 November 1938.... In one of the Jewish sections an 18 year-old boy was hurled from a three-story window to land with both legs broken on a street littered with burning beds. The main streets of the city were a positive litter of shattered plate glass. All of the synagogues were irreparably gutted by flames. One of the largest clothing stores was destroyed. No attempts on the part of the fire brigade were made to extinguish the fire. It is extremely difficult to believe, but the owners of the clothing store were actually charged with setting the fire and on that basis were dragged from their beds at 6 a.m. and clapped into prison and many male German Jews have been sent to concentration camps." (48)

The day after Kristallnacht, the Nazi Party held a rally in Nuremberg. Around 100,000 people attended in order to hear the anti-Jewish invective of Julius Streicher, the man known to be the most rabid anti-semite in Nazi Germany. "Photographs of the rally show relatively few men in uniform. Instead, the faces of ordinary Germans - that is, the collective face of Nuremberg and of Germany - can be seen there conveying their ardent support for their government and the eliminationist program." (49)

On the 11th November, 1938, Susanne von der Borch attended a meeting of the German Girls' League: "A few of the Hitler Youth leaders were there, who I normally liked a lot. And they were standing there telling us how they had spent the night. They said they had been at a shop, the Eichengrun in Munich, and they'd smashed the windows, and they'd got hold of one Jew and shaved the hair on his head. And I said, You horrible pigs! And I thought, I have to find out the truth, what was really going on. And that was when I really started to ask serious questions." (50)

Consequences of Kristallnacht

On 12th November, 1938 Joseph Goebbels had a meeting with Hermann Goering and Reinhard Heydrich. Goebbels commented: "I am of the opinion that this is our chance to dissolve the synagogues. All those not completely intact shall be razed by the Jews. The Jews shall pay for it. There in Berlin, the Jews are ready to do that. The synagogues which burned in Berlin are being leveled by the Jews themselves. We shall build parking lots in their places or new buildings. That ought to be the criterion for the whole country, the Jews shall have to remove the damaged or burned synagogues, and shall have to provide us with ready free space. I deem it necessary to issue a decree forbidding the Jews to enter German theaters, movie houses and circuses. I have already issued such a decree under the authority of the law of the chamber for culture. Considering the present situation of the theaters, I believe we can afford that. Our theaters are overcrowded, we have hardly any room. I am of the opinion that it is not possible to have Jews sitting next to Germans in varieties, movies and theaters. One might consider, later on, to let the Jews have one or two movie houses here in Berlin, where they may see Jewish movies. But in German theaters they have no business anymore. Furthermore, I advocate that the Jews be eliminated from all positions in public life in which they may prove to be provocative. It is still possible today that a Jew shares a compartment in a sleeping car with a German. Therefore, we need a decree by the Reich Ministry for Communications stating that separate compartments for Jews shall be available; in cases where compartments are filled up, Jews cannot claim a seat. They shall be given a separate compartment only after all Germans have secured seats. They shall not mix with Germans, and if there is no more room, they shall have to stand in the corridor." (51)

The only people who were punished for the crimes committed on Kristallnacht were members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) who had raped Jewish women. The judge ruled that this was worse than murder, since they had violated the Nuremberg Laws on sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews. Such offenders were expelled from the Nazi Party and turned over to the civil courts. The judge released those charged with murder as they were only following orders. (52)

The Jewish community was forced to pay the costs of Kristallnacht: "The Jews were ordered to replace all damaged property, though their insurance - when they had any - was confiscated. At the same time new decrees were issued denying the 500,000 of them a chance to earn a livelihood. They were forbidden to participate in trade or the professions; they were dismissed from all important posts in incorporated companies. Against them as a race was levied a fine of a billion marks, nominally $400 million-roughly half their remaining wealth." (53)

On 21st November, 1938, it was announced in Berlin by the Nazi authorities that 3,767 Jewish retail businesses in the city had either been transferred to "Aryan" control or closed down. Further restrictions on Jews were announced that day. To enforce the rule that Jewish doctors could not treat non-Jews, each Jewish doctor had henceforth to display a blue nameplate with a yellow star - the Star of David - with the sign: "Authorised to give medical treatment only to Jews." German bookmakers were also forbidden to accept bets from Jews. (54)

Joseph Herman Hertz, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, asked Sir Michael Bruce, a retired British diplomat, if he could travel to Germany to assess the situation. He was horrified by what he found and went straight to the British Embassy to see Sir Neville Henderson, the British ambassador, who hoped he would contact Lord Halifax, the British foreign secretary, about what could be done to help. "I went at once to the British Embassy. I told Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes everything I knew and urged him to contact Hitler and express Britain's displeasure. He told me he could do nothing. The Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, was in London and the Foreign Office, acting on instructions from Lord Halifax, had told him to do nothing that might offend Hitler and his minions." (55)

After Kristallnacht the numbers of Jews wishing to leave Germany increased dramatically. The problem was that the world's politicians reacted in a similar way to those dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis. Sweden had taken in a large number of Jewish refugees since 1933. However, the government felt it had taken too many already. According to one source "this attitude was shared by the Jewish minority in Sweden, who were apprehensive that an influx of Jewish refugees might arouse anti-semitic sentiments". (56)

The American Ambassador based in Stockholm reported: "No matter how great the sympathy for the Jews may be in Sweden it is apparent that no one really wants to take the risk of creating a Jewish problem in Sweden also by a liberal admission of Jewish refugees." (76) It was claimed by one Danish newspaper, Politiken, that "Europe is inundated with refugees, but there must certainly be a place for them elsewhere in the world." (57)

Most of the world looked to the United States to take these Jewish refugees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was approached by Jewish organizations to change the quota system employed by the United States. The combined German and Austrian annual quota of 27,000 was already filled until January 1940. It was suggested that the quotas for the following three years to be combined, allowing 81,000 Jews to enter immediately. (58)

President Roosevelt believed that such a move would not be popular with the American people. A public opinion poll conducted a few months after Kristallnacht asked: "If you were a member of Congress would vote yes or no on a bill to open the doors of the United States to a larger number of European refugees than now admitted under our immigration quotas?" Eighty-three per cent were against such a bill and 8.3 per cent did not know. Of the 8.7 per cent in favour, nearly 70 per cent were Jewish. As the authors of Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) pointed out: "At the very time when sympathy for the victims was at its height, ten Americans out of eleven opposed massive Jewish immigration into the United States." (59)

Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, put forward a plan to settle large numbers of German and Austrian Jewish refuges in the virtually uninhabited 120-mile-long Kenai Peninsula, in Alaska. However, four Alaskan Chambers of Commerce passed resolutions opposing the settlement plan. Felix S. Cohen, one of the Interior Department lawyers, told Ruth Gruber, how Ickes "was determined to help refugees" but that "a whole group of Alaskans came all the way down here just to fight us." These Alaskans "said there was no anti-Semitism in the Territory now because there were only a few Jewish families in each town. Bringing give thousand Jews a year would start race riots." (60)

Philip Noel-Baker, the Labour Party representative for Derby, and a leading Quaker, argued in the House of Commons, that Neville Chamberlain had been morally wrong to make concessions to Hitler and it was time to change policy towards Nazi Germany. He proposed a two-point programme: the threat of reprisals, to halt the arrest and expulsion of the Jews; and the immediate creation of a rehabilitation agency for the hundreds of thousands of emigrants.

"I think they (the Government) might in some measure stay the tyrant's hand in Germany by the means I have suggested. Certainly they can gather the resources, human and material, that are needed to make a new life for this pitiful human wreckage. That wreckage is the result of the mistakes made by all the Governments during the last twenty years. Let the Governments now atone for those mistakes. The refugees have surely endured enough. Dr Goebbels said the other day that he hoped the outside world would soon forget the German Jews. He hopes in vain. His campaign against them will go down in history with St Bartholomew's Eve as a lasting memory of human shame. Let there go with it another memory, the memory of what the other nations did to wipe the shame away." (61)

Chamberlain's rejected Noel-Baker's proposals but did have a meeting with Edouard Daladier, the prime-minister of France on 24th November. Daladier claimed that France had already accepted 40,000 Jewish refugees and urged Britain and the United States to do more. Chamberlain told Daladier that Britain was weekly admitting 500 Jewish refugees: "One of the chief difficulties, however, was the serious danger of arousing anti-semitic feeling in Great Britain. Indeed, a number of Jews had begged His Majesty's Government not to advertise too prominently what was being done." (62)

French newspapers tended to support Daladier. One newspaper argued: "France is a hospitable country. It will not allow a properly accredited diplomat to be assassinated in Paris by a foreign pig who was evading a deportation order... The interests of national defence and of the economy do not permit us to support the foreign elements which have recently installed themselves in and around our capital. Paris has too long been a dumping ground for international hoodlums, the right of asylum must have limits." (63)

The French Socialist Party published a resolution of its executive committee "noting with regret that of all the government of the democratic countries only the French ministers had not thought fit to express publicly their disapproval of the Nazis government's crimes.... The SFIO urges workers to combine forces before the hateful repression embodied in fascism, and to join with the Socialist party in opposing all racial prejudice and in defending the conquests of democracy and the rights of man against adversaries." (64)

The Jewish National Council for Palestine sent a telegram to the British government offering to take 10,000 German children into Palestine. The full cost of bringing the children from Germany and maintaining them in their new homes, as well as their education and vocational training would be paid for by the Palestine Jewish community and by "Zionists throughout the world". (65)

The Colonial Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald, told his Cabinet colleagues that the proposal should be rejected because of a forthcoming conference to be held in London, between the British government and representation of Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews, and the Arab States". He argued that "if these 10,000 children were allowed to enter Palestine, we should run a considerable risk that the Palestinian Arabs would not attend the Conference, and that, if they did attend, their confidence would be shaken and the atmosphere damaged." (66)

Neville Chamberlain was very unsympathetic to the plight of the Jews. He wrote to a friend: "Jews aren't a lovable people; I don't care about them myself." (67) On 8th December, 1938, Stanley Baldwin, a former Prime Minister, made a radio broadcast calling on the British government to do more for the Jews in Nazi Germany. "Thousands of men, women, and children, despoiled of their goods, driven from their homes, are seeking asylum and sanctuary on our doorsteps, a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest... They may not be our fellow subjects, but they are our fellow men. Tonight I plead for the victims who turn to England for help... Thousands of every degree of education, industry, wealth, position, have been made equal in misery. I shall not attempt to depict to you what it means to be scorned and branded and isolated like a leper. The honour of our country is challenged, our Christian charity is challenged, and it is up to us to meet that challenge." (68)

Six days later Chamberlain announced that the government would allow a total of 10,000 Jewish children to enter the country. However, their parents would have to remain in Nazi Germany. He also stated that Jewish refugee organisations in Britain would have to maintain them and would be responsible for finding homes for the children. (69) Anne Lehmann, a twelve-year-old girl from Berlin arrived soon afterwards. She was placed with a non-Jewish couple, Mary and Jim Mansfield, in the village of Swineshead. Anne never saw her parents again as both died at the hands of the Nazis. (70)

A Jewish boy who had witnessed the destruction of the synagogue in the village of Hoengen was another child who was allowed to live in Britain later wrote: "Standing at the window of the train, I was suddenly overcome with a maiming certainty that I would never see my father and mother again. There they stood, lonely, and with the sadness of death... It was the first and last time in my life that I had seen them both weep. Now and then my mother would stretch her hand out, as if to grasp mine - but the hand fell back, knowing it could never reach. Can the world ever justify the pain that burned in my father's eyes?... As the train pulled out of the station to wheel me to safety, I leant my face against the cold glass of the window, and wept bitterly." His parents died in an extermination camp three years later. (71)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Jewish children arriving in London from Germany (July, 1939)

In a leading article in Pravda compared the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany with the pogroms in Tsarist Russia: "The economic difficulties and the discontent of the masses have forced the fascist leaders to resort to a pogrom against the Jews to distract the attention of the masses from grave problems within the country... But anti-semitic pogroms did not save the Tsarist monarchy, and they will not save German fascism from destruction." (72) However, although the Soviet Union was willing to admit communists fleeing from Germany it did nothing to encourage Jewish emigration and rejected requests by the League of Nations High Commissioner for German Refugees to take in people seeking help. (73)

On 9th February, 1939, Senator Robert F. Wagner, introduced a Senate Resolution that would have allowed 20,000 German Jewish refugee children of fourteen and under into the United States. One argument raised against the bill was that the admission of these refugee children "would be against the laws of God, and therefore would open a wedge for a later request for the admission of 40,000 adults - the parents of the children in question". One newspaper claimed that America should concentrate on looking after its own children. Another objection raised was that the bill would create a dangerous precedent that would result in the wholesale breakdown of the existing immigration statutes. The bill "died in committee" and no further action was taken. (74)

An estimated 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps after Kristallnacht. (75) Up until this time these camps had been mainly for political prisoners. However, in January 1939, Reinhard Heydrich ordered police authorities all over Germany to release all Jewish concentration camp prisoners who had emigration papers. They were to be told that they would be returned to the camp for life if they ever came back to Germany. (76)

Josef Stone later recalled that his father benefited by Heydrich's order as he was released from Dachau after he had obtained permission to emigrate to the United States. "He was away for about four or five weeks... I remember that when he came home, it was late in the evening. I remember when he rang the doorbell he looked strange to us. Although he never had much hair... now he was completely bald." (77)

On 13th May, 1939, the ocean liner, the St Louis, left Hamburg with 927 German Jewish refugees on board. All had immigration quota numbers, issued by the American Consulates in Germany, entitling them to enter the United States. However, this was for the years 1940 and 1941. Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury and a Jew, suggested that the refugees be given tourist visas. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, rejected the idea. (78)

The captain now tried seven Latin American countries - Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay. All these countries refused to take a single one of these refugees. On 6th June, the liner arrived in Miami and a further request was sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was ignored and the St Louis returned to Europe. Britain took 288, France 244, Belgium 214 and Holland 181. Those in Britain were safe but more than 200 of those who were given haven by France, Belgium and Holland were killed after being deported to the death camps together with French, Belgian and Dutch Jews. The authors of Voyage of the Damned: A Shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal, and Nazi Terror (2010) later argued: "What is certain is that if Cuba or the United States had opened their doors, almost no one from the ship need have died." (79)

It has been estimated 115,000 Jews left Germany in the ten months or so between November 1938 and September 1939. It has been calculated that between 1933 and 1939, approximately two-thirds of the Jewish population of Germany left the country. Almost 200,000 had been given refuge in the United States and 65,000 in Britain. Palestine, with all the restrictions imposed on it, accepted 58,000. It is estimated that between 160,000 and 180,000 of those left in Germany died in the concentration camps. (80)

Primary Sources

((1) Adolf Hitler, The Road to Resurgence (1927)

Instead of raising aloft the merits of race and nation, millions of our people pay homage to the idea of internationally.

The strength and genius of the individual person are, in line with the absurd nature of democracy, being set aside in favour of majority rule, which amounts to nothing more than weakness and stupidity.

And rather than recognize and affirm the necessity of struggle, people are preaching theories of pacifism, reconciliation among nations and eternal peace.

These three outrages against mankind, which we can recognize through all history as the true signs of decadence in races and states, and whose more zealous propagandist is the international Jew, are the characteristic symptoms of Marxism which is progressively gaining a hold on our people.

(2) Joseph Goebbels, diary (1st April, 1933)

The boycott against the international atrocity propaganda has burst forth in full force in Berlin and the whole Reich. I drive along the Tauentzien Street in order to observe the situation. All Jewish businesses are closed. SA men are posted outside their entrances. The public has everywhere proclaimed its solidarity. The discipline is exemplary. An imposing performance! It all takes place in complete quiet; in the Reich too.

In the afternoon 150,000 Berlin workers marched to the Lustgarten, to join us in the protest against the incitement abroad. There is indescribable excitement in the air. The press is already operating in total unanimity. The boycott is a great moral victory for Germany. We have shown the world abroad that we can call up the entire nation without thereby causing the least turbulence or excesses. The Fuhrer has once more struck the right note. At midnight the boycott will be broken off by our own decision. We are now waiting for the resultant echo in the foreign press and propaganda.

(3) Victor Klemperer, diary (10th March, 1933)

Ever more hopeless. The boycott begins tomorrow. Yellow placards, men on guard. Pressure to pay Christian employees two months salary, to dismiss Jewish ones. No reply to the impressive letter of the Jews to the President of the Reich and to the government.

No one dares make a move. The Dresden student body made a declaration today and the honour of German students forbids them to come into contact with Jews. They are not allowed to enter the Student House. How much Jewish money went towards this Student House only a few years ago!

In Munich Jewish University teachers have already been prevented from setting foot in the University. The proclamation and injunction of the boycott committee decrees "Religion is immaterial", only race matters. If, in the case of the owners of a business, the husband is Jewish, the wife Christian or the other way round, then the business counts as Jewish.

(4) Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour (15th September, 1935)

Imbued with the insight that the purity of German blood is prerequisite for the continued existence of the German people and inspired by the inflexible will to ensure the existence of the German nation for all times, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following law, which is hereby promulgated:

(1) Marriages between Jews and subjects of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.

(2) Only the state attorney may initiate the annulment suit.

Extramarital intercourse between Jews and subjects of German or kindred blood is forbidden.

Jews must not employ in their households female subjects of German or kindred blood who are under forty-five years old.

(1) Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich and national flag and to display the Reich colors.

(2) They are, on the other hand, allowed to display the Jewish colors. The exercise of this right enjoys the protection of the state.

(5) Statement issued by the National Representation of the Jews in Germany in response to the passing of the Nuremberg Laws (24th September, 1935)

The laws decided upon by the Reichstag in Nuremberg have come as the heaviest of blows for the Jews in Germany. But they must create a basis on which a tolerable relationship becomes possible between the German and the Jewish

people. The National Representation of the Jews in Germany is willing to contribute to this end with all its powers. A precondition for such a tolerable relationship is the hope that the Jews and the Jewish communities of Germany will be

enabled to keep a moral and economic means of existence by the halting of defamation and boycott.

The most urgent tasks for the National Representation of the Jews in Germany, which it will press energetically and with full commitment, following the avenues it has previously taken, are:

1. Our own Jewish educational system must serve to prepare the youth to become upright Jews, secure in their faith, who will draw the strength to face the onerous demands which life will make on them from conscious solidarity with the Jewish community, from work for the Jewish present and faith in the Jewish future. In addition to transmitting knowledge, the Jewish schools must also serve in the systematic preparation for future occupations. With regard to preparation for emigration, particularly to Palestine, emphasis will be placed on guidance toward manual work and the study of the Hebrew language. The education and vocational training of girls must be directed to preparing them to carry out their responsibilities as upholders of the family and mothers of the next generation. An independent cultures structure must offer possibilities of employment to Jews who are artistically and culturally creative, and serve the separate cultural life of the Jews in Germany.

2. The increased need for emigration will be served by large-scale planning, firstly with respect to Palestine, but also to all other available countries, with particular attention to young people. This includes study of additional possibilities for emigration, training in professions suited for emigrants, particularly agriculture and technical skills; the creation of ways and means to mobilize and liquidate the property of persons who are economically independent; the broadening of existing means of transferring property and the creation of additional such means.

3. Support and care of the needy, sick or aged must be assured through further systematic expansion of the Jewish welfare services provided by the communities to supplement government social services.

4. An impoverished community cannot carry out these varied and difficult tasks. The National Representation of the Jews in Germany will try by every means to safeguard the economic position of the Jews by seeking to protect the existing means of livelihood. Those who are economically weak will be assisted by the further development of economic aids as employment bureaus, economic advice, and personal or mortgage loans.

(6) Westbrook Pegler, Suffer Little Children (1936)

The most pathetic victims of Adolf Hitler's slow massacre of the Jews in Germany are the children of the Jews who are too young to know what it is all about. These children are subjected to a method of torture far worse than the baby killing which was charged against the German infantry in the early days of the Great War in cartoons depicting little bodies wriggling on the bayonets of the marching armies.

It finally was shown that the German soldier, Michael, as he was called at home, was the soul of kindness, who often shared his rations with the waifs behind the Belgian lines, and reasonable people on the Allies' side of the fight ultimately admitted that the charge was false.

But it will be impossible ever to disprove the atrocities which are being perpetrated on the children of the Jews under the orders of Adolf Hitler as a policy of the German government of today.

The Chinese have a method of torture known as the death of a thousand cuts, in which the executioner is rated according to his ability to hack and mutilate the victim without permitting him to die until the maximum of suffering has been inflicted. They have a very good photograph of an execution by this method in the Chamber of Horrors in Madam Tussaud's Museum in London, but most people coming upon it unsuspectingly turn away revolted, and only the most morbid visitor lingers for a second glance.

Hitler's torture of the Jewish children is even more ingenious, however, for he has invented a way to convert the period of childhood into a term of unrelieved sorrow, fear, dread and suffering. It is commonly accepted among the civilized peoples of the world that any man who would inflict suffering on a child, wantonly or for the purpose of avenging some offense, real or imaginary, attributed to the child's parents, or for any other reason, is not quite right mentally and ought to be put away.

We had a case of that kind in New York. An old man tortured and killed a little girl for the pleasure it gave him, and public opinion pretty well agreed that he was insane. But even in that case the suffering of the little girl was of short duration. Then she was dead. Hitler's little victims, however, are not allowed to die. They have no such luck. Hitler keeps them alive, and they suffer day after horrible day at the hands of a nation which constantly boasts of its honor and manhood, as a matter of national policy.

The German child who is a Jew is compelled to listen to the most unspeakable vilification of his parents, and the child's first attempts at spelling out public notices on the billboards will inform him that he is not a human being, like other children, but a beast whose parents were not human beings, either, but loathsome animals.

If the child lives in a country town where there are not sufficient Jewish children to warrant the establishment of a ghetto school in which to segregate little Jews, then the torture of the victim is even more artistic. In that case the child may be compelled to sit in the classroom and pay attention while the teacher explains that little Isadore or Rosie is a vile creature, a species of vermin and a menace to the German nation. If the teacher so desires, the Jewish child may be dismissed from the room during the lecture, in which case the Aryan children, with the characteristic cruelty of children plus the sadistic delight in the infliction of pain which is now being fostered in young Nazis, will catch the young Jew after class and tell Isadore or Rosie what the teacher said.

If the radio is turned on in the home of a Jewish family the children will hear an orator somewhere in Berlin or Munich explaining that their parents are beasts and that they are little beasts themselves.

A lone Jewish child in a small community must play alone, for the true Nazi children, of course, will not admit him to their company, and a Gentile child with pity in his heart would be afraid to offer the victim any sympathy. He would be ostracized.

And then, of course, it is fair sport for the Nazi children to kick and beat and throw rocks at the little Jews, because that is preliminary training for one of the highest functions of Nazi citizenship and manhood in days to come.

(7) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions for measures against Jews (10th November, 1938)

Following the attempt on the life of Secretary of the Legation von Rath in Paris, demonstrations against the Jews are to be expected in all parts of the Reich in the course of the coming night, November 9/10,1938. The instructions below are to be applied in dealing with these events:

I. The chiefs of the State Police, or their deputies, must immediately upon receipt of this telegram contact, by telephone, the political leaders in their areas - Gauleiter or Kreisleiter - who have jurisdiction in their districts and arrange a joint meeting with the inspector or commander of the Order Police to discuss the arrangements for the demonstrations. At these discussions the political leaders will be informed that the German Police has received instructions, detailed below, from the Reichsfiihrer SS and the chief of the German Police, with which the political leadership is requested to coordinate its own measures:

(a) Only such measures are to be taken as do not endanger German lives or property (i.e., synagogues are to be burnt down only where there is no danger of fire in neighboring buildings).

(b) Places of business and apartments belonging to Jews may be destroyed but not looted. The police are instructed to supervise the observance of this order and to arrest looters.

(c) In commercial streets particular care is to be taken that non-Jewish businesses are completely protected against damage.

(d) Foreign citizens - even if they are Jews - are not to be molested.

II. On the assumption that the guidelines are observed, the demonstrations are not to be prevented by the police, who are only to supervise the observance of the guidelines.

III. On receipt of this telegram, police will seize all archives to be found in all synagogues and offices of the Jewish communities so as to prevent their destruction during the demonstrations. This refers only to material

of historical value, not to contemporary tax records, etc. The archives are to be handed over to the locally responsible officers of the SD.

IV. The control of the measures of the Security Police concerning the demonstrations against the Jews is vested in the organs of the State Police, unless inspectors of the Security Police have given their own instructions. Officials of the Criminal Police, members of the SD, of the Reserves and the SS in general may be used to carry out the measures taken by the Security Police.

V. As soon as the course of events during the night permits the release of the officials required, as many Jews in all districts, especially the rich, as can be accommodated in existing prisons are to be arrested. For the time being only healthy male Jews, who are not too old, are to be detained. After the detentions have been carried out the appropriate concentration camps are to be contracted immediately for the prompt accommodation of the Jews in the camps. Special care is to be taken that the Jews arrested in accordance with these instructions are not ill-treated.

(8) Victor Klemperer, diary (27th November, 1938)

On the morning of the 11th November two policemen arrived accompanied by a 'resident of Doeizschen'. Did have any weapons? - Certainly my sabre, perhaps even my bayonet as a war memento, but I wouldn't know where. We have to help you find it. The house was searched for hours. At the beginning Eva made the mistake of quite innocently telling one of the policemen he should not go through the clean linen cupboard without washing his hands. The man, considerably affronted, could hardly be calmed down. A second younger policeman was more friendly, the civilian was the worst. We said we had been without domestic help for months, many things were dusty and still unpacked. They rummaged through everything, chests and wooden constructions Eva had made were broken open with an axe. The sabre was found in a suitcase in the attic, the bayonet was not found. Among the books they found a copy of the Sozialistic Monatshefte (a Socialist monthly magazine) this was also confiscated. At about one o'clock the civilian and the older policeman left the house, the young one remained and took a statement. He was good-natured and courteous, I had the feeling he himself found the thing embarrassing.

(9) Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich (1971)

While Jews formed just under 1 per cent of the total population of Germany, in certain professions and occupations there was a markedly higher percentage of them. Thus 16 per cent of all lawyers practising in the Reich were Jews, and about 10 per cent of all doctors and dentists. Among bankers it was as high as 17 per cent. Against their over-representation in certain areas of lucrative commercial activity must be set the fact that in 1933 one in three Jewish taxpayers had an annual income of less than 2,400 marks and one in four Berlin Jews was receiving charity.

(10) In 1933 Alice Hamilton visited Germany. She wrote to Jane Addams about her experiences on 1st July, 1933.

All the people we met in Frankfurt were Jews and all waiting - to see when the blow would fall - or left suddenly without position or income and with no possible chance of any employment. It is much worse than Russia. There the Whites were such a poor lot, one could be terribly sorry for them but nobody could wish them back in power. But in Germany the down-and-outs are the best people they have.

(11) Hjalmar Schacht, speech in Koenigsberg (18th August, 1935)

The Jews must realize that their influence in Germany has disappeared for all time. We wish to keep our people and our culture pure and distinctive, just as the Jews have always demanded this of themselves. But the solution of these problems must be brought about under state leadership, and cannot be left to unregulated individual actions, which have a disturbing influence on the national economy, and which have therefore been repeatedly forbidden by governmental as well as Party agencies.

The economy is a very sensitive organism. Every disturbance, from whatever direction it may come, acts as sand in the machine. Since our economy is closely allied with that of foreign countries, not one of us can be indifferent to what consequences these disturbances can have at home and abroad.

(12) Julius Streicher, speech (1937)

The Jew always lives from the blood of other peoples, he needs such murders and such sacrifices. The victory will be only entirely and finally achieved when the whole world is free of Jews."

(13) Julius Streicher, speech (31st October, 1939)

This is our mission at home, to approach these future decisions without hesitation, to do our duty and to remain strong. We know the enemy, we have called him by name for the last twenty years: he is the World Jew. And we know that the Jew must die.

(14) Arthur Seyss-Inquart, speech in Amsterdam (12th March, 1941)

The Jews are the enemy of National Socialism. From the time of their emancipation their methods were directed to the annihilation of the folkish and moral worth of the German people and to replace a national and responsible ideology with international nihilism. It was really they who stabbed the Army in the back which broke the resistance of the Germans (in the First World War). The Jews are the enemy with whom no armistice or peace can be made. We will smite the Jews where we meet them and whoever goes along with them must take the consequences.

(15) In September 1941 Victor Klemperer heard that all Jews in Germany had to display the yellow Star of David. He wrote about it in his diary (15th September, 1941).

Frau Kreidl Sr. was in tears. Frau Voss suffered a heart attack. Friedheim said this was the most difficult blow to date, worse than the confiscation of capital. I feel shattered, and cannot calm myself. Eva wants to take care of all errands from now on. I will leave the house only at night for a few moments.

(16) Anne Frank, diary entry (11th April, 1944)

Who has inflicted this upon us? Who has made us Jews different to all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now? It is God that has made us as we are, but it will be God too, who will raise us up again. If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will then be held up as an example. Who knows, it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason only do we have to suffer now.

(17) Hermann Goering, order to Reinhard Heydrich (31st July, 1941)

Complementing the task that was assigned to you on January 24, 1939, which dealt with carrying out by emigration and evacuation a solution of the Jewish problem as advantageous as possible, I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations with regard to organizational and financial matters for bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.

Whatever other governmental agencies are involved they will cooperate with you. I request furthermore that you send me before long an overall plan concerning the organizational, factual and material measures necessary for the accomplishment of the desired final solution of the Jewish question.

(18) Hans Frank, speech at a meeting of soldiers (December, 1941)

This war would be only a partial success if the whole lot of Jewry survived it, while we shed our best blood to save Europe. My attitude toward the Jews will therefore be based solely on the expectation that they must disappear. They must be done away with. Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and wherever it is possible.

(19) Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf were executed in 1943 for publishing and distributing leaflets hostile to the government of Adolf Hitler. This is an extract from the second White Rose leaflet published in 1942.

It is impossible to engage in intellectual discourse with National Socialism because it is not an intellectually defensible program. It is false to speak of a National Socialist philosophy, for if there were such an entity, one would have to try by means of analysis and discussion either to prove its validity or to combat it. In actuality, however, we face a totally different situation. At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one's fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant lies. After all, Hitler states in an early edition of "his" book (a book written in the worst German I have ever read, in spite of the fact that it has been elevated to the position of the Bible in this nation of poets and thinkers); "It is unbelievable, to what extent one must betray a people in order to rule."

We do not want to discuss here the question of the Jews, no do we want in this leaflet to compose a defence or apology. No, only by way of example do we want to cite the fact that since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way. Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history.

(20) Julius Streicher, Der Stuermer (6th January, 1944)

Developments since the rise of National Socialism make it probable that the continent will be freed from its Jewish destroyers of people and exploiters forever, and the German example after the German victory in World War II will also serve to bring about the destruction of the Jewish world tormentors on other continents.

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Russian Revolution

Nazi Germany


(1) German Workers Party: Twenty-Five Points (24th February, 1920)

(2) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) page 468

(3) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) page 286

(4) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) page 66

(5) André Gerrits, The Myth of Jewish Communism: A Historical Interpretation (2009) page 78

(6) The Jerusalem Post (20th June, 2018)

(7) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) page 481

(8) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 270

(9) Timothy D. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) page 63

(10) Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936 (1998) pages 466-468

(11) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 15

(12) Wolfgang Gerlach, The Witnesses Were Silent (2000) page 42

(13) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 79

(14) Armin Hertz, interviewed by the authors of What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) pages 26-27

(15) Helga Schmidt, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 179

(16) Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich (1971) page 575

(17) Hildegard Koch, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 196

(18) Eric A. Johnson & Karl-Heinz Reuband, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 4

(19) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 35

(20) Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (2001) page 287

(21) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 208

(22) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 160

(23) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 556

(24) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 13

(25) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) pages 559-560

(26) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 67

(27) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions for measures against Jews (10th November, 1938)

(28) Heinrich Mueller, order sent to all regional and local commanders of the state police (9th November 1938)

(29) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 100

(30) Erich Dressler, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 66

(31) Paul Briscoe, My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (2007) page 2

(32) Armin Hertz, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 27

(33) Susanne von der Borch, interviewed by Cate Haste, for her book, Nazi Women (2001) pages 152-153

(34) Inge Neuberger, letter to Martin Gilbert (15th June, 2005)

(35) Melita Maschmann, Account Rendered: A Dossier on My Former Self (1964) page 56

(36) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 275

(37) Hugh Carleton Greene, The Daily Telegraph (12th November, 1938)

(38) Inge Fehr, letter to Michael Smith (2nd April, 1997)

(39) Armin Hertz, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 27

(40) Effie Engel, interviewed by the authors of What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 217

(41) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions to the Gestapo for measures against Jews (9th November, 1938)

(42) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 36

(43) Inge Neuberger, letter to Martin Gilbert (15th June, 2005)

(44) Joseph Goebbels, article in the Völkischer Beobachter (12th November, 1938)

(45) Erich Dressler, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 66

(46) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions to the Gestapo for measures against Jews (11th November, 1938)

(47) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 67

(48) David Buffum, American Consul in Leipzig (November, 1938)

(49) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 102

(50) Susanne von der Borch, interviewed by Cate Haste, for her book, Nazi Women (2001) pages 153

(51) Joseph Goebbels, at a conference on the Jewish Question (12th November 1938)

(52) William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany (1959) page 527

(53) New Republic (23rd November, 1938)

(54) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 168

(55) Michael Bruce, Tramp Royal (1954) pages 236-240

(56) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 161

(57) Report of the American Ambassador in Sweden (18th November, 1938)

(58) Politiken (13th November, 1938)

(59) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) pages 165-166

(60) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 161

(61) Ruth Gruber, Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel (2002) pages 13-14

(62) Philip Noel-Baker, speech in the House of Commons (21st November, 1938)

(63) Minutes of Franco-British talks of 24th November, 1938

(64) Action Française (8th November, 1938)

(65) Le Populaire (17th November, 1938)

(66) The Manchester Guardian (21st November, 1938)

(67) Malcolm MacDonald, cabinet minutes (14th December, 1938)

(68) Neville Chamberlain, private letter (30th July, 1939)

(69) Stanley Baldwin, radio appeal (8th December, 1938)

(70) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 186

(71) Anne L. Fox, My Heart in a Suitcase (1996) page 43

(72) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 196

(73) Pravda (16th November, 1938)

(74) Kurt Grossmann, Emigration (1969) page 107

(75) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 213

(76) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 100

(77) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 598

(78) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 38

(79) Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, Voyage of the Damned: A Shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal, and Nazi Terror (2010) page 302

(80) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (18th August, 2015)