Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Night the Synagogues burnt....Reichspogromnacht 1938

In the night from November 9th/10th 1938 the Nazis started a pogrom. The action had been planned for weeks, all local SA and SS groups had been informed. During the evening, SA & SS groups started to smash the windows of Jewish shops and houses, Jewish families were pulled from their beds, their belongings smashed to bits or thrown out of the windows, people were arrested without any reason, many were beaten up and badly injured, and then the synagogues throughout Germany were set on fire. More than 7000 Jewish shops and businesses were also destroyed. Police and fire brigade had been ordered to attend, but only to prevent people helping or to insure that the fire did not spread to neighbouring, non-Jewish properties. Many photos show passers by just standing, watching. Others show the fire brigade standing in front of the burning houses and laughing. Hospitals and doctors were forbidden to treat the wounded, although many did, in spite of endangering themselves. More than 20,000 people (including my great uncle and his father) were carried off to prisons or concentration camps, where they were repeatedly beaten, and only released when their families could prove that they had documents and tickets to leave Germany. Between three and four thousand people died either during the night or later as a result of their injuries or subsequent beatings.. Some or them disappeared, probably beaten to death and *disposed of*.
The pogrom was *sold* to the German and international media as an *act of spontaneous people’s anger* to revenge the shooting of the German Ambassador Von Rath by the 17 year old Herschel Grynszpan in Paris. To *punish* the Jews for the damage they had caused (!) a *punishment tax* was levied to pay for the costs of the burnt out synagogues and their demolition, which amounted to the amazing sum of 1,127billion Reich mark. This night was called *Cristal Night* by the Nazis to make it sound like something harmless, where just a few windows got broken. In reality it was a long planned vicious pogrom, which should have shown the rest of the world what Hitler was up to. Those who managed to emigrate from Germany after this were *lucky*, even if they lost everything they had, those who stayed ended in the concentration camps, where 6 million Jews from the whole of Europe were murdered, including all of the family of my grandmother in Berlin.
This is in memory of them, and all who lost their lives as a result of this madness that engulfed the whole world.


  1. Great idea to remind of what happened, things like this must not be forgotten. Hugs, Sarah

  2. Its hard to imagine such terrible happenings and the insane cruelty of it all. This cannot have been easy to make Val for all the obvious reasons. Annette x

  3. Sad story, but very important. Hugs, T

  4. Thanks T! But what makes me sad, is that loads of people have read this post and not bothered to comment - Indifference? Ignorance? Or what? I just don't know, and it makes me wonder that so many of my so called buddies have just ignored this.

  5. I had no idea this is how it all started. I cant imagine the shock this must have caused and oh how that shock would have been obliterated by all that followed. Remembering all those involved. x


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. All your comments are much appreciated! Please be aware that by leaving a comment you are voluntarily sharing your name and / or the details of your blog.