November 7 th, 1938 Paris, France Herschel Grynszpan, a Jewish student from Germany, assassinates Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat in France Grynszpan’s family, among thousands of other Jews, were deported to Poland from Germany by the Gestapo; however, Poland would not accept the train cars full of Jews, and Germany would not take them back Background
12,000 Jews were stranded at the border of Poland and Germany, with little food, and poor conditions Grynszpan’s actions were to call attention to the matter on the border; he wrote a postcard to his parents before the assassination, which he kept in his pocket. On it, it read: “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 and that of the 12,000 Jews. I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do. Forgive me.” Background
The death of vom Rath on November 9 th, days after the shooting, overlapped with the fifteenth anniversary of the infamous Beer Hall Putsch, the greatest day on the Nazi calendar Josef Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister, gave an inflammatory speech in front of the beer hall in Munich, outraged that a German Diplomat was assassinated by a Jew Background
In his speech, Goebbels stated that it would not be surprising if the Germans took the law into their own hands and attacked the Jewish community. Such “ spontaneous outbursts,” would not be openly organized by the Nazi party or the SA, but neither would they be opposed or prevented Within hours, Kristallnacht was underway Background
“ No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults of defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.” The New York Times Excerpt
30,000 Jewish men were arrested and deported to concentration camps- primarily Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald Many arrested Jews were forced to march and humiliate themselves publicly At the synagogue in Baden-Baden, the SS forced the Jews to sing Nazi songs and read Mein Kampf instead of reading the Torah before the Ark
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