Ungeschminkt as never before the Nazi regime has shown his true colors in the night from 9 to 10 November 1938. 70 years ago, burned synagogues. Jewish businesses and homes were destroyed, abused the residents and brought in the days that tens of thousands of Jews in concentration camps.
Today, still often called the propaganda term "Kristallnacht" pogroms for many historians mark the beginning of the Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the Jewish population. In Austria, 30 Jews were killed, 7,800 arrested and immediately deported from Vienna around 4000 to Dachau concentration camp. Throughout the "German Reich" Thousands of synagogues and shops were burned, killed 91 people and arrested 20,000.
"A crucial incision"
Humiliation, humiliation and disenfranchisement of the Jews had at that time already a five-year history, since Adolf Hitler had come to power in January 1933 in Nazi Germany.
"Now was reached a crucial incision," says the historian Wolfgang Benz. "From now on brute force was on the agenda to get rid of the Jews." The Jews had been shown in the most brutal manner, that they were no longer considered for law and order, adds the director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin.
Behind the barbaric actions was portrayed as a "spontaneous outburst of popular anger," was state calculus: The pretext of the assassination 17 years old Herschel Grynszpan Jews served in the German Legation in Paris, Ernst vom Rath. Grynszpan wanted to draw attention to the situation of his family in Germany with his act.
The Grynszpan, came from Russian Poland in 1911 to Hanover, were among 17,000 Polish Jews who were to be deported back to Poland in the autumn of 1938, but there were not recorded and had to settle down in no man's land in atrocious conditions at the border. Herschel Grynszpan, itself drawn from Hannover to Paris to live with relatives, learned about it through a postcard to his sister.
With a pistol with ammunition, the young man sought on November 7th at the German Embassy in Paris. Instead the ambassador received him the Secretary of Legation. Grynszpan shot five times on the diplomat who died as a result two days later.
A desperate and propaganda
Without realizing it, Grynspzan had thrown the fuse into the powder keg with his desperation, as Benz emphasized. After the death of the embassy staff took the Nazi propaganda machine as an opportunity to stage an attack from the "international Jewry" in Nazi Germany, in March 1938 as to the "Ostmark" also belonged to Austria.
With a diatribe against the Nazi leadership Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gave the starting signal for the uninhibited attacks. With the approval of Hitler's acts of terrorism were issued as "spontaneous outburst of popular rage."
"Bold intervention there was rarely"
Members of SA SS us went through the cities, set synagogues on fire. And many citizens watched just as historians Benz says. "Of course there were also stunned faces, but courageous intervention only rarely." The fire department should only intervene if units were affected by "the Germans," said the statement.
The number of people who subsequently lost their lives in the terror of night or in the days and weeks is not to determine, according to Benz. Some 1,400 Jewish synagogues and prayer houses were destroyed, to thousands of homes and businesses.
Goebbels: "Now racing the people's anger"
Almost triumphantly held Goebbels in his diary for testing: "Out of the whole empire now run the reports a 50, then burn 75 synagogues (...) Now hurtling popular anger (...) running can be (...)." From then on was: Germany should "be free of Jews, "says Benz. As a result, regulations, decrees and prohibitions were put in place, with which the Jews disappeared more and more from the economic and finally from public life.
The seeds of the Holocaust
The public humiliation the Jews should be brought to emigrate. "Because the physical destruction was not yet in the year 1938 on the program," said Benz.
The calculus had consequences: according Benz In the aftermath of the pogroms emigrated as many Jews as in all the years since 1933 not. But even if the "final solution" to this time had not yet state program, is firmly Benz: "The path towards Holocaust was smashed."
Tribute to the victims
The fight against anti-Semitism and the continuing memory of the victims of the Holocaust at the center of an international round table on Monday in the Vienna Hofburg. The event is organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the November pogroms of the International Holocaust Task Force (ITF) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
At the round table will participate alongside Terry Davis among others, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hans Winkler (ÖVP), ODIHR Director Janez Lenarcic and. Also get the Danish director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Morten Kjaerum, the UN Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng, and Marcello Scarone Azzi by UNESCO.
The International Holocaust Task Force (ITF) is understood as an umbrella organization for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working to combat anti-Semitism. The 25 Member States around the world to support projects with funds and organize conferences. Primary Projects in Eastern Europe encouraged as the resident NGOs have less capital than, say, those in the US and Israel.