Wolfgang Benz + Trude Maurer + Avraham Barkai + Jonny Moser + Konrad Kwiet + Hermann Graml + Hans Mommsen + Abraham J. Peck Herausgegeben von: Walter H. Pehle
Der Judenpogrom 1938
The assassination of a German embassy employee in Paris by 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan provided the National Socialists with a pretext for their orchestrated nationwide pogrom against the Jewish population. On the night of 9 November 1938, almost all of the remaining 400 synagogues fell victim to arson attacks and looting by drunken Nazi party members. The fire brigade only intervened where neighbouring “Aryan” plots were at risk. Some one hundred Jews lost their lives on that night, while 7500 Jewish businesses were demolished and robbed. Around 30 000 apparently wealthy Jews were beaten out of their homes and deported to concentration camps; many of them never returned. The ironically downplaying name of the "night of broken glass", which soon became the common term, fails to do justice to these events. The widespread passivity of the general public did belie Propaganda Minister Goebbels’ intended image of a “spontaneous outburst of rage” – yet resistance or even open protest against the anti-Jewish barbarism was evident as good as nowhere. This lack of moral substance was the result of years of deadening reactions towards the fate of the Jews in Germany and was to lay the ground for the fatal indifference with which the vast majority of the Germans faced their neighbours’ deportation only a few years later. This volume contains contributions on the prologue to the events, addresses the concrete economic interests behind the subsequent expropriation – "Aryanization" – of Jewish businesses, and documents reports from contemporary witnesses. A separate chapter is dedicated to the existential question of "Should we go or stay?" which many German Jews asked themselves after 9 November 1938 at the latest. The volume also describes how the planning and commandment of the murder of the European Jews came about and what the Germans knew of all this. A further look at the post-war situation shows that the Jews’ suffering continued beyond 8 May 1945. The book brings together contributions from ten historians and contemporary witnesses from five countries.