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Thousands Hopeless Amid Wreckage

November 13, 1938
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Thousands of German Jews sat hopelessly today amid the wreckage of their homes, shops, and offices wondering what worse the fates could possibly hold in store for them.

After a day of unrestrained incendiarism, looting, and destruction, Nazi bands withdrew from Jewish quarters satisfied that they had exacted sufficient vengeance, for the moment, for the life of Ernst vom Rath, german diplomat assassinated by a polish Jewish youth in Paris. Scarcely a synagogue stood intact throughout the Reich. In cities and towns across greater Germany frenzied mobs had soaked them in gasoline and set them up in fire and smoke.

Outside of wrecked Jewish shops today appeared signs: “Shops For Rent or Sale” or else: “This shop has already been sold to Aryan buyers.” Jews were deciding to abandon entirely the attempt to continue earning their livelihood.

Meanwhile the Nazi press offered congratulations for the remarkable restraint displayed by the bands, which yesterday engaged in an almost indescribable orgy of violence and destruction. The Nazi’s capacity for tolerance and discipline, it was emphasized, was exemplified by the fact that no jew was killed. next time, the papers warned, the “people” would not hold their legitimate indignation so remarkably in check.

“It is necessary to stress,” said the Voelkischer Beobachter, Chancellor Adolf Hitler’ own organ, “that if new provocations occur on the part of world jewry, the german people will not settle their accounts so mildly.”

There seemed little doubt that the entire reign of terror bore an official stamp of approval. not until two o’clock yesterday afternoon, 14 hours after the riots began, did Propaganda Minister Goebbels ask the populace to stop its carnival of destruction, promising fresh anti-Semitic decrees in retaliation for the murder of vom Rath. Last night an official spokesman of the propaganda ministry made it even more clear that the government and the police were spreading whitewash over the “inspired” disorders.

“It is true,” the spokesman formally admitted, “that the Propaganda Ministry accepts responsibility for today’s events. the number of Jews arrested for their own protection is not known but will probably be announced later. the police did not intervene in the spontaneous demonstrations against Jewish shops.”

In the midst of the arson and vandalism Government circles frankly declared that the night and day of rioting, whose repercussions are expected to be felt throughout the civilize! world, have marked a historic hour for international jewry. following vom Rath’s assassination, these quarters said, the Jewish problem is no longer a german problem, but has become a world question which all states must help to decide.

Until now this point of view has never been expressed so categorically, and it was not believed impossible that the Reich government would make the fate of its Jews a subject for formal diplomatic negotiation.

An order given to Jews to leave Munich within 48 hours came from various local Nazi organizations, but was not sanctioned or confirmed by the police. nevertheless some Jews left Munich, while others went to Gestapo headquarters jo ask where they might go and where they would be permitted to live in the future. a Jewish bank which closed yesterday was reopened this morning, but overnight it had passed into “aryan” hands. Jewish depositors were permitted to withdraw sums not exceeding 1,000 marks.

It was announced that Adolf Wagner, Gauleiter of Bavaria, and numerous other personalities would speak at meetings to which brownshirted s.a. and blackshirted s.s. troopers were to appear in civilian dress.

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