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Polish-Jewish Youth, 17, Shoots Nazi Embassy Official in Paris; Race Vengeance Held Motive

November 8, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A german embassy official was today shot and seriously wounded by a 17-year-old Polish Jew named Herschel Feivel Grynszpan, in what the embassy said was an act of vengeance for the mass expulsion of polish Jews from the Reich. the wounded official, Ernst Edward von Rath, 32, was third secretary of the German Embassy and a nephew of the late German Ambassador to Parisy Roland Koester.

Grywszpan, a mild-looking youth speaking fluent French and German, appeared at the Reich Embassy this morning and asked to see the Ambassador’s secretary to submit a “document of considerable importance,” according to the embassy’s official account of the incident to the press.

Ushered into Von Path’s presence, the young man delivered a brief speech on Reich persecution of Polish Jews, then whipped out a 6.35 mm. revolver and fired two bullets into the secretary’s body. As von Rath slumped down unconscious, attendants rushed in and overpowered the assailant, who submitted without a struggle.

Grynszpan was immediately turned over to a French policeman on regular duty outside the Embassy. The would-be murderer, the German account said, seemed completely sane, but was filled with a desire to “revenge his polish co-religionists recently expelled from the Reich.”

Von Rath was rushed to the nearby Alma clinic, where the bullet lodged in his abdomen was removed by an emergency operation.” an embassy communique tonight said this diplomat’s condition remained dangerous.

In the early afternoon, Reich Ambassador Johannes von Welczeck called on Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet, but it was not known whether the visit vjas connected with the Grynszpan affair.

Meanwhile the young Jew was taken to a police station, where French officials took over the case. Investigation revealed, according to the police, that Grynszpan, who had been expelled from the country last august, had been secretly sheltered in paris by his u.wcle, Abraham Grynszpan. The elder Grynszpan and his wife were placed under : surveillance.

The prisoner reportedly admitted that he had remained in the capital for a time after his expulsion, hiding in the bois de Boulogne and on the banks of the seine and later going off to Brussels.

An Embassy spokesman said the assailant, though born in Hanover, Germany, held a valid passport issued by the polish consulate-general here. according to report, his family was recently expelled from Germany and is at the present time living in a /railroad car on the Polish-German frontier.

A gunsmith named carpe told police that Grynszpan had bought a revolver at his shop, justifying his purchase by the claim that he frequently had to carry large sums of money on his person. Upon Carpe’s demand, the young man produced a passport which was in complete order

Grynszpan, according to police, spent last night at a hotel on the Boulevard Strasbourg, where he revealed some hesitation about filling out the customary identification papers. he kept to his room all evening and night, leaving the hotel at 8:30 a.m. the shooting occurred at 9:35 o’clock.

Authorities tonight took Grynszpan to a small apartment in the Rue Martil where he is believed to have stayed with his aunt and uncle. while police searched the premises, the youth posed amiably for newspaper photographers. tomorrow he “will be brought before am investigating( magistrate for questioning on his identity.

The shooting recalled the case of young David Frankfurter, Yugoslavian Jewish medical student who is serving an 18-year prison term in Switzerland for the racial-revenge slaying of Wilhelm Gulston, Swiss’ Nazi leader, at davos in february, 1936.

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