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British Diplomat Blames Kristallnacht on Sexual Perversity

(December 14, 1938)

On December 14, 1938, the British Consul-General in Frankfurt-on-Main, Robert Smallbones, wrote to Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes Counsellor to the Embassy in Berlin about Kristallnacht:

The explanation of this outbreak of sadistic cruelty may be that sexual perversion, and in particular homo-sexuality, are very prevalent in Germany. It seems to me that mass sexual perversity may offer an explanation for this otherwise inexplicable outbreak. I am persuaded that, if the Government of Germany depended on the suffrage of the people, those in power and responsible for these outrages would be swept away by a storm of indignation if not put up against the wall and shot.

Smallbones argued the information he forwarded should remain:

The facts if broadcast and if not already known would probably rouse world opinion to a higher pitch of indignation. But the rulers of Germany appear at present to be contemptuous of world opinion. The only likely reaction would be to try and ferret out my informants for individual punishment or to inflict collective punishment if they cannot be found. Also, if my name were mentioned it might lead to an incident. It might, however, be useful to bring the facts reported to the confidential notice of those Government which contemplate doing something towards the solution of this problem.

After Kristallnacht, Smallbones was later responsible for formulating a plan that allowed German Jews to immigrate to England.