Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kristallnacht__Klezmer fiddling

By the end of the 1920s, most German Jews were loyal to their country, assimilated and relatively prosperous. They served in the German army and contributed to every field of German science, business and culture. After the Nazis were elected to power in 1933, as a result of progressively harsher state-sponsored anti-Semitic persecution, by 1938 the Jews had been almost completely excluded from German social and political life. Many sought asylum abroad, and thousands did manage to leave, but as Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1936, "The world seemed to be divided into two parts — those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter

On October 28, 1938, 17,000 Polish Jews living in Germany (some for more than a decade), were arrested and taken to the river marking the Polish-German border and forced to cross it. The Polish border guards sent them back over the river into Germany and this stalemate continued for days in the pouring rain, the Jews marching without food or shelter between the borders until the Polish government admitted them to a concentration camp. The conditions of these camps “were so bad that some actually tried to escape back into Germany and were shot” recalls a British woman who was sent to help the expellees.

Herschel Grynszpan, a German Jew living in Paris, France, had received a letter from his family describing the horrible conditions they experienced in this deportation. Seeking to alleviate their situation, he appealed repeatedly over the next few days to Ernst vom Rath, Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, who could not help him. On Monday, November 7, Grynszpan shot vom Rath in the stomach. He attempted and missed 3 additional shots. Two days later, on November 9, the secretary died.

Vom Rath's assassination served as an excuse for launching a rampage against Jewish inhabitants throughout Germany.

Jewish homes and stores were ransacked all throughout Germany and also in Vienna, with a mixture of German citizens and Stormtroops going to destroy buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in smashed windows of destroyed businesses the next morning (the origin of the name “Crystal Night”). Although violence against Jews had not been condoned by the authorities, there were cases of Jews being beaten or assaulted.

This pogrom damaged, and in many cases destroyed, about 1574 synagogues (constituting nearly all Germany had), many Jewish cemeteries, more than 7,000 Jewish shops, and 29 department stores. Some Jews were beaten to death while others were forced to watch. More than 30,000 Jewish males were arrested and taken to concentration camps; primarily Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. The treatment of prisoners in the camps was brutal, but most were released during the following three months on condition that they leave Germany.

The number of German Jews killed is uncertain, with estimates ranging from 36 to about 200 over two days of rioting. The number killed in the rioting is most often cited as 91. There are believed to have been hundreds of suicides in addition to this, as the slim slivers of hope that remained in some Jews disappeared completely. Counting deaths at the concentration camps, around 2,000-2,500 deaths, were directly or indirectly attributable to the Kristallnacht pogrom. A few non-Jewish Germans mistaken for Jews were also killed.

The synagogues, some centuries old, were also victims of sadistic violence, with the tactics the Stormtroops practiced on these and other sacred sites were described as “approaching the ghoulish” by the United States Consul in Leipzig. Even graveyards were not spared, as tombstones were uprooted and graves violated. Fires were lit, and prayer books, scrolls, artwork and philosophy were thrown upon them, and the precious buildings were either burned or smashed until unrecognizable. Eric Lucas recalls the destruction of the synagogue that a tiny Jewish community had constructed in a small village only twelve years earlier:

It did not take long before the first heavy grey stones came tumbling down, and the children of the village amused themselves as they flung stones into the many coloured windows. When the first rays of a cold and pale November sun penetrated the heavy dark clouds, the little synagogue was but a heap of stone, broken glass and smashed-up woodwork.

Events in Austria were no less horrendous. Most of Vienna's 94 synagogues and prayer-houses were partially or totally destroyed. People were subjected to all manner of humiliations, including being forced to scrub the pavements whilst being tormented by their fellow Austrians, some of whom had been their friends and neighbors.

The persecution and economic damage done to German Jews did not stop with the pogrom, even as their places of business were ransacked. They were also forced to pay "Judenvermögensabgabe", a collective fine of 1 Billion Mark fine for the murder of vom Rath (equal to roughly $US5.5 Billion of today’s currency), which was levied by the compulsory acquisition of 20% of all Jewish property by the state. Six million Marks of insurance payments for property damage due to the Jewish community were to be paid to the government instead as "damages to the German Nation".

The number of emigrating Jews spiked as those who could left the country, and this was a desirable outcome for the Nazi party. In the ten months following Kristallnacht, more than 115,000 Jews emigrated from the Reich Wikipedia Kristallnacht pogrom


Ecumene said...

London, 1941

English composer Michael Tippett (1905–1997), a committed pacifist, conceived the oratorio A Child of Our Time after he learned of the November 1938 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) pogrom in Germany and Austria. Wishing to communicate a universal message of tolerance, Tippett omitted any reference to current events in his libretto. He drew musical inspiration from baroque-era composers Bach and Handel and from African American spirituals. A Child of Our Time, named after a novel by anti-Nazi writer Odon von Horwath, was completed in 1941 and first performed in London in March 1944. The excerpted passage below occurs at the beginning of Part II:

A star rises in mid-winter.
Behold the man! Behold the man!
The scape-goat! The scape-goat!
The child of our time.

A Child of Our Time

Ecumene said...


The world turns on its dark side.
It is winter.

The Argument

Man has measured the heavens
with a telescope,
driven the gods from their thrones.
But the soul,
watching the chaotic mirror,
knows that the gods return.
Truly, the living god consumes
within and turns the flesh to cancer.


Is evil then good?
Is reason untrue?

Reason is true to itself;
But pity breaks open the heart.

We are lost.
We are as seed before the wind.
We are carried
to a great slaughter.

BASS (Narrator)
Now in each nation
there were some cast out
by authority and tormented,
made to suffer for the general wrong.
Pogroms in the east,
lynching in the west;
Europe brooding
on a war of starvation,
And a great cry went up from the people.

When shall the usurers city cease,
And famine depart from the fruitful land?.....

A Child of Our Time
(Oratorio) read more..

Ecumene said...


On November 1938 pogroms
and videos

Agobooks said...

Έκανα τη μετάφραση που μου ζήτησες.

Ecumene said...

Ευχαριστώ πολύ..

BEIT HANOUN MASSACRE- 8 November, 2006

by Israeli blogger DesertPeace

Anonymous said...

Πολυ χαιρομαι εδω στη μπλογκοσφαιρα οταν βλεπω κειμενα στα Αγγλικα.Ολοι πιστευουν οτι παιζουμε την αγγλικη στα δαχτυλα μαλλον!

Ecumene said...


Χάσμα γενεών...

Φταίει η Νέα Εποχή...
Πέρσι τετοιο καιρο
μια παρέα στην μπλογκό
τώρα μας οδηγεί το ρεύμα
σε παγκόσμιο πνεύμα

Σκεφτομαι να κανω κι ενα blog
στα ελληνικά..

Ecumene said...

Ιδου και στα ελληνικά


Anh Khoi Do said...

I heard of this in the news yesterday. A woman of German heritage who live in Montreal was interviewed. It's really sad to see the pictures of this event.

Anyway, I can't wait to see the movie on Sophie Scholl which should be eventually released on DVD in Canada.

Ecumene said...

Hi Anh!

Thank you for informing me

I read enthusiastic critiques

it 's surprizing for a germanophone

Sophie Scholl "Die letzten Tage The Final Days" Trailer

Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a member of the White Rose (Die Weiße Rose) non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of treason and executed by guillotine. She is celebrated[1] as one of the few Germans to actively oppose the Third Reich during the Second World War.


Anonymous said...

Un poco oldfashioned, ma interessante. Quel est mon age? Je l'ai oublie.
Constantinos, Athens

Πάνος said...

Αγαπητή Ergotelina,

Το καινούριο μου στέκι θα το βρεις στο Πέρνα όποτε θέλεις – είναι ανοιχτά μέρα και νύχτα!

Ecumene said...


in fashion

German police have made 16 arrests after neo-Nazis vandalised a memorial on the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht attacks on German Jews.

During the consecration ceremony, Mr Koehler warned that "open and latent anti-Semitism" still existed in Germany.


Καλο ξεκίνημα..

Belinha Fernandes said...

Hello Ergotelina. Yesterday our Tc showed part of Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution.Heinous atrocity. Don't feel like watching more today...

Anonymous said...

Israeli Dies in Rocket Attack

A Palestinian rocket attack on the town of Sderot has left an Israeli woman dead. The armed wing of the governing Hamas movement is among several organizations claiming responsibility for the attack, saying it was a response to the deaths in Beit Hanoun.

18 Palestinian civilians were killed in Beit Hanoun last week in what Israeli officials deemed “a technical failure.” Israel cites the threat of rocket attacks as the reason for its military operations in the area.

Qassam rockets are fired towards Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza almost daily, and have claimed 9 lives since the introduction of their use in June 2004. Israeli operations in Gaza have claimed over 400 Palestinian lives since June 2006.

A Palestinian rocket attack on the town of Sderot has left an Israeli woman dead.

Για να καθαρίσουμε την Ελλάδα / To clean-up Greece Site Meter