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Kristallnacht Eyewitness Documents (The Wiener Library)

Discussion in 'Concentration, Death Camps and Crimes Against Huma' started by KJ Jr, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Many of you may know The Wiener Library based in London. I came across the digital archive during my research and I am thoroughly fascinated. It is a substantial selection of documents. Currently I am sifting through over 300+ translated eyewitness accounts of the pogrom of November 9-10, 1938. It encompasses a spectrum of reactions that I can't stop reading.

    Below is a sample:


    "I saw a large number of people in Germany, who are actively trying to solve the problem, and so I received quite an insight into the situation.

    The problem of the individual is of minor importance in comparison with the plight of the entire Jewish community. The problems of the immediate members of my own family are my own and will have to be solved by me personally at and beyond any financial sacrifice that I can afford. That, however, leaves the distress of the masses that can only be taken care of by those people who can afford to part with hundreds and thousands of dollars without effecting [sic] their mode of living, and fortunately there are quite a few such in the United States.

    To inject a personal note and give you an example that you will no doubt believe and appreciate, I want to tell you the following. My own brother was sought by the Gestapo (Nazi police) at his own home. Fortunately, he was out and forewarned. He then went to my mother's into hiding and when they looked for him there he was moved on to some American friends of his. The police looked for him there as well, so he was hounded from place to place like a man who had committed a murder. He then told my mother that he could not stand it any longer and that he was going to give himself up. With the greatest amount of persuasion my mother insisted that he continue to avoid arrest, and after this kept up for another day he had the inevitable breakdown which affected his nerves and his kidneys. One tried to get a doctor but all the Jewish doctors had been arrested themselves and finally a gentile doctor was called in who seemed quite sympathetic and remarked that the condition my brother was in by then was quite understandable, and that he would have to be taken to a hospital whether he wanted or not. They tried to take him to the General Hospital in A. but after waiting for half an hour admission was refused as they do not treat Jews there. So he finally landed at the Jewish hospital where he is now.

    Other men whom I know intimately are similarly hiding in the coal cellars and other places either in their own homes or in other people's, where nobody ever answers any doorbells and never turns on a light, thus pretending that they are not home. Of course these are only isolated cases as the vast majority is in concentration camps. A friend of mine whom I only saw a few weeks ago, a father of six children, was arrested out of bed at three o’clock in the morning, and consider that I only know the stories of those few whose names mean something to me, whereas there are thousands of others in the same misery.

    A man in Berlin, not arrested only because he is over 65, was crying bitterly when he told me of the fate of some of the people in the concentration camps. Of course the Germans want the Jews to get out and they are all willing to leave every penny or piece of furniture they own behind, but the difficulty is that every country restricts immigration, that the process is so despairingly slow.

    Herr B., being only about 50, has been arrested and is currently at the Oranienburg concentration camp. Those few who have their emigration papers in order and are therefore able to leave are released by the German authorities. Before leaving the camps however they are made to sign under oath that they will not disclose any of the goings on at the camp. Nevertheless, such men are the source of information. When I told Herr C. that I was going to see Frau B. he told me that actually the life at the camp was dreadful and the sufferings not only comparable to the Middle Ages but as far back as Egypt when our people were made to work with a whip behind them. He asked me not to tell Frau B. as she was under the impression that it was not too bad."

    The Wiener Library : Pogrom - November 1938 : Testimonies from 'Kristallnacht' : Pogrom - November 1938
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  2. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Another account of the pogrom of Nov. 9-10, 1938.:

    "Once again the Germans have thought up new atrocities against the Jews. I can cite the following factual report as one who was affected by the events.

    On 10th November 1938 my family and I were startled from our sleep at half past 5 by continuous ringing and banging on the door, and it was demanded that we opened it. I was arrested and had to go along immediately. This operation was carried out by an SA-Obersturmbannführer and a Hitlerjunge who was perhaps 15 years old. I was not given any time to dress and so I could only go along scantily clothed. At least I still had something to cover my body. One Jew appeared in nightshirt, another in dressing gown and a third came barefoot.

    I was taken to the gymnasium of a school were Jews had already been brought since c. 2 o’clock in the morning. I was received there by police, SA and SS men, all of whom excelled at striking and mistreating us with all possible beating devices such as bullwhips, whips and sticks. I myself got nothing, thank God, apart from some kicks so that I could hardly walk. But the picture that presented itself to me was terrible. Only the blood of poor, wounded people sprays in such a way, and the terrible screams of pain of those who had been struck were nerve-wracking. After the beasts had staunched their sadistic lust we were ordered to knee-bend with arms raised, face to the wall so that they could shoot us. Moreover, what was about to happen was all the same to me. Now a new hail of beatings was deployed and blood sprayed about in such a way that my coat was completely spattered with the blood of other Jews. I was lucky again in this situation too, I received nothing, perhaps because someone amongst them wished me well.

    After this Aktion we had to line up in rows and shout “Juda verrecke!” aloud three times.

    Subsequently we were loaded into cars and brought to Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, where we were also received with mistreatment. It was quarter to 7.

    Two Jews were beaten so badly in the gymnasium that they could not be transported: they had to be taken to the hospital. One of them is still unable to walk today, on 20th March 1939.

    On the Appellplatz of the camp, at the command “Attention!" we had to stand for twelve hours, albeit people aged up to 79 were there. These beasts of hangman’s assistants do not have a human heart whatsoever. In front of me stood a man of 69 years who had been hit on the top of the skull and had blood flowing down him. Although he lost consciousness he was not removed but still kicked and further roared at, whether the Schwein did not want to perish. As if by a miracle this man has now become healthy again.

    We Jews had a particular place in the camp and did not come into contact with the other miserable prisoners, who at that point had already been robbed of six years of their freedom. We were almost 11,000 people and were accommodated in five barracks without straw and without blankets. The sparsely clothed were naturally very cold but we were given extra stuff by the others who were there.

    For 48 hours those beasts had given us no food or drink and the treatment was terrible. The worst night was the night from the first Sunday to Monday, when some were battered to death.

    I observed the following case: I lay by the window whilst the guards thrashed a man until he fell lifeless: next they dragged him by the legs across theand kept beating him until he disappeared from my view. What became of him and who it was, I do not know.

    The strangest thing however, is that from that night onwards, no SS man or guard was allowed to enter our camp and we finally had peace. Discipline was maintained by us Jews ourselves.

    The sanitary facilities were indescribable, at first we only had one latrine for the many people, eventually one more was built later. There was absolutely no water for washing or drinking. I was there for four weeks, and one can imagine what condition one found oneself in. Because of the muddy ground the soles of the shoes of many rotted, mine included, and each day was a further agony.

    At our release these brutes took their anger out on us once more, in that they insulted us with foul language, and we first breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the other side of the camp boundary. We thought wistfully of the others who had remained behind, whose suffering first began when the terrible cold set in a few days later.

    Unfortunately many Jews died there because they did not receive proper medical treatment, medication was lacking, and the smallest cold could bring death. Thus did one of my best friends die, who had caught a bladder infection and went down from it.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Right in my Bookmarks for later viewing. Thanks KJ.
     

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