Page 1 – The year in which everything escalated
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Germany, November 9, 1938: In the so-called Reichspogromnacht
Numerous people participate in acts of violence against Jews. To analyze the brutal abuses, you have to look at the whole year. A time when the Nazi regime began implementing its expansion plans; in which there is the systematic deportation of tens of thousands
Organized people and used terror as a means to get the Jews out of the country
to drive. The historian Michael Wildt writes about this.
The "Anschluss" of Austria A year before the November pogroms, on November 5, 1937, Hitler told the military leadership that he was determined to go to war. The aim of German politics was, according to Hitler, "the securing and preservation of the masses of the people and their multiplication". What is needed is the "gaining of a larger habitat", which must be sought not in distant colonies but rather in Europe. To solve the German question, there could only be the "way of violence". Initially, Austria and the Czech Republic would have to be annexed, primarily to exploit the resources of the two countries.
Michael Wildt is Professor of German History in the 20th Century with a focus on National Socialism at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
© Cordia Schlegelmilch
Hitler consistently pressed the Austrian government harder and finally decided to have the Wehrmacht invaded Austria on 12 March in order to "annex" the country to the German Reich. In the crisis days before the invasion, anti-Semitic pogroms flared up in Vienna and elsewhere. Jewish businesses were plundered, Jews were arbitrarily arrested, driven out of their homes and mistreated, personal enrichment was commonplace. By the spring of 1939, about half of the approximately 190,000 Austrian Jews left their country, including thousands who were forcibly and illegally deported across the borders by the SA and SS.
Adolf Eichmann, who had been sent from Berlin to Vienna to confiscate documents for the SS (SD) Security Service, centralized the anti-Semitic policy under his leadership. He extorted several hundred thousand Reichsmark from the Jewish religious community, thus demonstrating that the SD succeeded in sufficiently violent energy in financing the expulsion of the Jews from them, in contrast to the cumbersome debates of the ministerial bureaucracy. Eichmann's Central Office for Jewish Emigration became a model for the SS leadership.
Robbery of Jewish Assets The plundering and expulsion also determined the politics in Germany. In May 1938, Goering issued a decree on the registration of Jewish property. At the beginning of July, the law amending the Industrial Code prohibited Jews from pursuing numerous professions, especially peddling, which helped some to stay afloat. In Berlin, Gauleiter Goebbels called on the police, like NSDAP, to "engage in constant interventions against the Jews". Throughout the summer, SA, SS and HJ attacked Jewish shops and cafes, abused the guests, smashed the furniture, and plundered the goods. In Nuremberg, Munich and Dortmund, the synagogues were torn down with a big public spectacle, whereby the Jewish communities had to pay the demolition costs.
Kristallnacht – »The population stood around and gaped«
80 years ago, people throughout Germany destroyed Jewish institutions. Hundreds were killed. The video recalls the Shoah survivor Zvi Aviram.
© Photo: OFF / AFP / Getty Images
Of the Jewish companies existing in January 1933, two-thirds were no longer owned by their former Jewish owners. Especially the retail trade was affected by the expropriation. The year 1938, writes the economic historian Avraham Barkai, was the year of the "final spurt" in the race for the "Aryanisation" of Jewish companies. Countless party and national comrades, who had gone out yet empty, now came on the scene, to acquire the remaining objects at the low fare. The real beneficiary of the robbery of Jewish property, however, was the Nazi state, which took millions of Reichsmark through expropriations, anti-Semitic taxes and numerous compulsory levies for Jews.
"Action Shy of Labor in the Reich" Also the pursuit of so-called "Arbeitsscheuer", "Asocialer" and "community foreigner" experienced 1938 a climax. Reinhard Heydrich ordered that in the week between the 13th and 18th of June each Criminal Investigation Unit should arrest at least 200 male so-called "asocial" persons and take them to a concentration camp. More than 10,000 people, including some 1,500 Jews, were interned in the June action and the police learned how thousands of people were systematically arrested and deported.