Lagebericht [Situation Report] of the SD

(November 1938)


The Jewish situation in Germany during November 1938 is marked primarily by two factors:

The results of the deportation of the Jews of Polish citizenship on 27 October 1938.
The actions undertaken against the Jews on 9 and 10 November.

The reprisals against the Jews in Germany invariably broke out all over the territory of the Reich during the night of 9 to 10 November. The agents who carried it out were the political leaders, members of the SA, the SS and the Hitler Youth. The civilian population participated only on a very small scale. The course of action generally was the same all over. After having destroyed or set fire to the synagogues, prayer houses and offices of the Jewish community and organizations, the action was directed against Jewish shops and later also private Jewish homes. With the broad range of actions against Jewish property, elements which are politically unsound participated, and the result was looting and excesses against individual Jews. The immediate intervention of the State Police together with the SD brought this looting to an immediate end, and the people involved were arrested. It was found that quite a number of party members and SA and SS members were among them.

The number of destroyed synagogues is about 360 for the whole area of the Reich. [research has shown that the number is about 1000]. Over 30 department stores were totally destroyed by fire or demolition. The total damage to property is being estimated at 50 million RM. About 14,000 Germans by blood have lost their jobs as a result of the closing of Jewish businesses.

At the same time, Jews were arrested by the State Police. The number of Jews arrested is about 24,000. The number of dead is being reported as 36 and about 58 injured….

The attitude of the population, which was favorable at first, changed notably once the extent of destruction became obvious. It was repeatedly stressed that the action against the Jews in retaliation for the murder of Vom Rath was approved of, but the destruction of businesses and homes was contrary to the requirements of the Four Year Plan. It was also pointed out that this utterly crude action against the Jews could cause new difficulties in foreign relations. The methods used were criticized by forces in the Wehrmacht [German army].

As was to be expected, the action against the Jews met with total opposition in purely Catholic regions. The event was exploited for a new attack on National Socialism. Attempts were made to stir up the population using the excuse that synagogues were houses of God—though they had never been viewed as such by the Catholic Church….

The attitude to the action abroad was uniformly negative. In spite of the statements in the German press, the opinion of foreign journalists and official representatives of foreign states is that the action was prepared in advance and sanctioned by highest authority. The embassies ordered the consulates to report continuously about the action. The result was immediate action on their part, once a foreign Jew had been affected.

The murder in Paris and the resulting action against the Jews in Germany were the cause for the creation of new laws and regulations with the purpose of establishing a new mark in the relationship between the Jews and the population….

Source: 0.51/OSO/47.


Source: Yad Vashem