web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Kristallnacht: A Family Recollection

By:
Front-Page-110813

The SA men, some of whom were drunk, hoisted gasoline cans and began drenching the exterior of the synagogue. Others with crowbars disappeared inside to wreak havoc. The most vocal of the Brownshirts produced lit torches and with cruel smiles on their faces turned the synagogue into a wall of flames. The firemen did nothing, remaining alert, however, to ensure that the flames would not jump to adjacent non-Jewish property. Ironically, Philip and his family had raised money to fund their fire trucks.

The Jewish men stood helpless as their beloved synagogue was destroyed. When the flames died down, the Stormtroopers bundled the heartbroken Jewish men into a military lorry and took them to an unknown destination.

* * * * *

My father heard this account and understood at once the full magnitude of the horror. The torched synagogue had once been the center of a 300-member Jewish community. But in recent years Jews had steadily left, fleeing abroad or moving to big cities where they could live more anonymously. Now, Ihringen’s Jewish world was gone.

“What are we going to do?” one of his aunts wept helplessly. My father recalled that despite his shock, he knew at that moment what he needed to do. He had to take care of things the women could not. He went to each family’s barn and tended to the livestock. All the cows needed to be milked and given fresh feed and water. At his Uncle Marx’s barn, he noticed a pony looking wild-eyed and panic stricken, spooked by the events. My father found a handful of oats and fed it to him, walking him around the barn. Forcing himself to be calm for the animal’s sake helped him soothe his own welling sense of panic. By the time he returned to his mother’s kitchen, he knew he was now the man of the family. He would cheerfully keep his mother’s and aunts’ spirits up while he took care of things until the men’s fates were known.

The Nazis had shut down all Jewish newspapers but from what he had witnessed and through word of mouth he knew the destruction was widespread.

The fuse for the pogrom’s explosion was lit on October 18 when the Nazis, seeking to make Germany judenrein, expelled over 12,000 Polish-born Jews residing within their borders. The anti-Semitic Polish government accepted only 4,000 back. The remaining Jews found themselves languishing in villages and train stations along the Polish-German frontier. The largest concentration of this misery was at the Zbaszyn train station where 7,000 people had little food and were forced to sleep on the cold stone floor. At least five committed suicide.

Stranded at that station was a couple who had lived in Germany for twenty-seven years and had a teenage son, Hershel Grynszpan, living in Paris. Through a heart-rending postcard sent from the station, he learned of his parents’ plight and the expellees’ dire situation. Enraged, Hershel bought a pistol and on November 7 went to the German Embassy in Paris, demanding to speak to the ambassador, pretending he had an important document to deliver. He was met by career diplomat Ernst vom Ram. Shouting “Here, in the name of 12,000 persecuted Jews, is your document!” he shot the Nazi.

Vom Rath was rushed to the hospital and the German Embassy immediately relayed the news to Berlin. Hitler dispatched his personal physician to Paris to care for the diplomat, who hovered near death for two days. On the evening of November 9, Hitler was commemorating the anniversary of his 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. During the event, word came from Paris that the diplomat had died.

Propaganda Minister Goebbels and the Nazi leadership had long laid plans for a mass action against the Jews. Grynszpan’s desperate act provided them the perfect excuse. Goebbels called police and Nazi party leaders, setting phone lines buzzing across the country, and told them to begin “spontaneous” demonstrations.

The German media helped whip up anti-Semitic hysteria, holding the Jews collectively responsible for the assassination and claiming it to be part of a greater Jewish conspiracy against the Reich. Goebbels gloated at the ferocity of the savage rampage, writing: “As was to be expected, the entire nation is in an uproar. This is one dead man who is costing the Jews dear. Our darling Jews will think twice in the future before simply gunning down German diplomats.”

About the Author: Ed Lion is a former reporter for United Press International now living in the Poconos.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Kristallnacht: A Family Recollection

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest Indepth Stories
United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

ISIS leads captured Egyptian Copts in death march.

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Rather than asserting Jewish rights on Temple Mount or protecting Jewish lives Israel chooses soccer

More Articles from Ed Lion
Eli Cohen

PM Netanyahu has pledged the nation won’t rest until the hero Eli Cohen is returned home to Israel

Lion-052215

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

Each craved more out life and within a few months they’d mastered English, received their high school equivalencies, and begun climbing the rungs of the ladder of the American Dream.

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

The risks were great, but certain death awaited them if they remained. The gamble paid off, though the family was separated for the next four years of the war.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/kristallnacht-a-family-recollection/2013/11/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: