Hitler’s obssession with anti-semitism was a reflection of Nazi propoganda. Hitler blamed the 522,000 Jews living in Germany for all of the countries problems. Such as, the defeat of World War One, growth in capitalism and much more. No particular reason was given to why the Germans despised the Jews so much. The Jewish people were very faithful to their motherland, they fought in the Great War and many soldiers died. By 1930 numerous Jewish and German marriages were occurring throughout the country.
The first act of true racism towards the Jewish people was in 1933, when Minister Joseph Goebbles(Gurbles) demanded that all Jewish-owned businesses were deemed unfit for the German population. Jews were then later released from civil work as well as from any university. This increased much controversy, people were forced to believe that the Jews were the enemies and that they had no true loyalties and were going to betray the Germans. This theory of Jews being the number one enemy of Germans was later taught in schools, published in children’s books, and was found in any form of media, such as radio and television stations. This idea of the Jews betraying the Germans was slowly fed to the citizens of Germany over the course of multiple years. With this the Jewish people were socially and physically separated from any other groups of people. They were not wanted anywhere, from schools to public halls to restaurants to many more.
In July 1938, an important conference was called to action it occured in the French City in Evian. Jewish emigration was one of the more important topics that were discussed. Multiple areas were adamant on not taking in high concentrations of Jews. The president of Israel, Chaim Weizman said, “The world seemed to be divided into two parts – those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter.” On October 28th 1938, 12,000 Polish born Jews were expelled from Germany and were forced to take a train to the Polish border. Poland would later only let a few thousand Jews into the country’s borders. The remaining refugees were stuck between the borders for days without food or shelter. Many people decided that living in the border town was like living in hell, so they decided to travel back to Germany. But when they stepped foot back into the German border, they were shot on sight by German guards.
In BorderTown lived a specific family, the Grynzspan family. The family was known as Ostjuden(aust-yoo-den) or Eastern Jews by the Germans. In Paris, France their son Herschel Gyrnzspan (Her-ches-nal Gryn-shhhpan) got a very urgent letter from his sister Berta, who was pleading for him to save them from such extreme cases of racism and murder while living in the Polish borders. On November 7th, 1938 after he heard of the situation, he bought a revolver and went to the German Embassy in Paris and shot a German official, Ernst Vom Rath, after he wounded him he had a letter in his pocket which stated, “With God’s help. My dear parents, I could not do otherwise, may God forgive me, the heart bleeds when I hear of your tragedy.” After the assassination, Grynszpan, while getting dragged into the cop car by French police officers, tearfully exclaimed to the police, “Being a Jew is not a crime. I am not a dog. I have a right to live and the Jewish people have a right to exist on this earth. Wherever I have been I have been chased like an animal.” When German Minister Joseph Goebbels heard of the assassination of Vom Rath, he ordered it to be on the front of all German papers. And the North Hesse of Germany said “the assassination must have the gravest consequences for Jews in Germany” said the German Press conference. Right after on the same day, the riots against Jewish shops in Castle and Bay Brown occurred. Two days after being shot on November 9th Ernst Vom Rath died of his wounds. Hitler left it to Goebbels to incite the stormtroopers and at 10:00 pm Goebbels announced the diplomats’ death to the public. He said the following “comrades we cannot allow this attack to go unchallenged together we must plan what is to be our answer to Jewish murder.” With these words, Goebbels set in motion the first major Pogrom in Germany since the Middle Ages.
As the Nazi government broke up, Nazi officials transferred instructions to units all over Germany, the official instructions were very clear; to attack Jewish synagogues and businesses but not to loot, and not to mistreat the Jews physically and not to harm the foreign Jews. And that the whole operation was to be carried out in plain everyday clothes, to conceal Nazi Party involvement. At midnight at Virts Berg seminary, a mob arrived. At two o’clock in the morning of November 10th, the pogrom was occurring. The Nazi’s main targets were synagogues and large shops owned by Jews but homes, shops, hospitals, old people’s homes, cemeteries, were also attacked. All around Germany, the stormtroopers rounded up Jewish men to take them to the concentration camps. As word spread around, Jewish men tried to not get captured by the German stormtroopers. During this time, some Germans were offended that the Nazi party had reacted in such a terrible way, those people did what they could to help the Jewish people that they had connections to. As the atrocious activities continued, the Germans were confused about who had started the pogrom. The instructions that were broadcasted on Nazi radios were to refrain to attack the Jewish people or physically injure them, but that instruction was ignored by many. Many Germans thought that the pogrom was initiated against Hitler’s wishes. At 5 o’clock on November 10th Goebbels issued for the attack to end. But the damage was done. The attacks destroyed around 275 synagogues, 7,500 Jewish owned businesses, dozens of Jewish communal buildings, and damaged thousands of homes. And survivor Eric Lucas said the following: “When the first rays of a pale and cold November sun penetrated the heavy dark clouds, the little synagogues was but a heap of stone, broken glass and smashed-up woodwork.” During this time, people smashed the windows of a lot of Jewish owned anything. Estimated 100 Jews killed, and many men died in hospitals because of the immense brutality, multiple people committed suicide and died in the concentration camps as a result. Joseph Goebbels said that this was “spontaneous manifestations of indignation against the murder of Vom Rath by the young Jew.” as well as “It was a healthy instinct from a Jew.” Though the Nazis did admit that they killed 100 people during Kristallnacht, not one person was charged. At the end of the pogrom, the ground was littered with shattered glass. Thus giving the name of the terrible days November 9th – November 10th, Kristallnacht; The Night of Broken Glass.
Goebbels knew that the anti-semitic rage was going to be put on national and international news so he tried to make Kristallnacht seem like an uncontrollable rage from the Jewish and it was not military planned. The total economic loss was enormous, tens of millions of dollars lost. The destruction of glass alone amounted to half a year’s worth of the Belgium glass industry production of glass. Economics minister Hermann Goering was enraged by the cost he said: “I’d rather you kill 2,000 Jews than destroy so many valuable assets.” On November 12th a specially convened meeting was officiated. Party and Government officials decided “Since the pogrom was officiated by a Jewish assassin in Paris, it should be the Jews who should bear the economic consequences, not the Germans.” Sir Martin Gilbert a famous historian said “some ideological, such as anti-Semitism and nationalism, some economic, such as the dire economic state of the German state.” This resulted in some Jews paying a higher price to the post-Kristallnacht persecution, but the highest price was made the 30,000 men imprisoned in 3 large concentration camps. Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen camps, they were also sent to other ones around Germany. The Nazis were not thinking of mass murder but they just wanted as many Jews as possible to leave the country. Between November 1938 and the spring of 1939, they released most of the 30,000 men that were enslaved during Kristallnacht out into freedom. But almost 3,000 of the men did not make it out alive. In the following months after Kristallnacht, almost all German Jews considered emigration. And tens of thousands left but for many, there was no hope to leave. The lucky ones got to leave and go to faraway places like Shanghai and Manchuria. But bordering Germany, those places were almost completely closed off to them. Even after Kristallnacht, the United States refused to increase its annual cut off limit of 15,000 for the Jewish people, Canada one of the worst, accepted only a couple hundred Jewish people. Parents wanted their children to leave and only Great Britain let 50,000ish Jews into their country.