This is not meant to be an accusation because since I didn’t live in those times, I just don’t know how I would have reacted.
It is however something that has intrigued me.How come the majority of the Germans and Austrians did not see how wrong the November pogrom was? I can nearly understand why they turned a blind eye to the boycott of Jewish shops and even the occasional attack on Jews, they probably thought it was just a few extreme right thugs who carried out those attacks. But Kristall nacht was not just some vandalism, it was a direct nationwide assault on religion and an act of war against the Jews.
During the Night 9-10 November, hundreds of synagogues were destroyed in Austria, Germany, and Sudetenland.
While the synagogues were burning, firemen were instructed only to stop the fires if nearby buildings were threatened by the flames.
At least 91 Jewish citizens were killed and about 30,000 Jewish men were arrested.The excuse used for these attacks was the shooting of diplomat Ernst vom Rath by 17 year old Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan, in Paris.
But in the 1930’s in Germany there had been many other assassinations and they never triggered widespread violence as the November pogrom.
Hugh Greene who worked as a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in Berlin, wrote the following:
“Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete 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'”
To add insult to injury ,after the event the Jewish community was forced to pay for the damage caused to the synagogues and properties, They were fined 10 billion Reichsmarks.
If Kristallnacht wasn’t an indication of what the Nazis had planned for the Jews, then what was. There was still time to put a halt to it then, but it seems people had just become to indifferent by then.
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