The Nazi Pogrom of the Jews in Germany and Austria at the night of November 9th and the 10th 1938 (known also as Kristallnacht, after the smashed glasses of Jewish shops and synagogues) could be perceived as a minor event in comparison the horrors of the Holocaust. But considering that the people of the time did not know what was going to happen, one could understand the shock from the violent death of hundreds of Jews in the streets, in addition to at least 1,000 deaths following arrests in the concertation camps or by suicides.
A testimony to the amount of shock in front of the violent events, after five years of gradual pushing of the Jews from the economy and the society, is a report that hold in the LBI Jerusalem archive, titled “The German Pogrom November 1938: An Account of Facts.” The report issued by the Jewish Central Information Office in February 1939, a body founded by Alfred Wiener in Amsterdam in 1933 and continued Wiener’s work in the Centralverein in collecting evidences and information about German anti-Semitism and the Nazis’ persecution of German Jews. The report includes testimonies of Jewish and Christian witnesses on the violence in the streets, as well as the harsh conditions in Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen camps and the public reaction to the events. The report also discusses the advanced organization of the pogrom by the Nazis, opposite to the Nazi’s claim that the events were spontaneous riots of the German public.
“All synagogues were set on fire […] All Jewish shops, without exception, were smashed to bits and the goods stolen […] 90% of the Jewish men are under arrest and have been taken away” told a Christian woman from Breslau, and added that other Christian people she met were indifferent. Another non-Jewish eye witness, from a German city in the Rhineland that its name wasn’t given, testified that “not only men but also women and even children were manhandled by the pogromists, and hounded, in their shirts, into the streets during that terrible night.” A solicitor from Vienna that was arrested among 170 others told that the SS replaced the police and “from that moment, my recollection of the events is only one of blood, blood and again blood.”
The accompanying letter beg the readers to distribute that information as much as they can, but at the same time asked not to use the name of the JCIO as the source. In the section pertaining to the Concentration camps, the report warned from direct quotation of the testimonies, in case it will hurts the sources and their families that still in Germany. The report also asked not to report about the situation in the camps to German Jews, in order not to add to their already deep stress. These passages illustrated how the Nazis did not only harmed lives and property, but also prevent the victims from reporting about their own persecution.