Jews in Nazi Germany

In 1903, portions of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion were serialized in a Russian newspaper, Znamya (The Banner). Two years later, a fuller version of this document, written by Sergei Nilus, was published in Russia, In 24 chapters, or protocols, it allegedly "describes" the "secret plans" of Jews to rule the world by manipulating the economy, controlling the media, and fostering religious conflict. (1)

Daniel Pipes, the author of Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (1997) pointed out: "The great importance of The Protocols lies in its permitting anti semites to reach beyond their traditional circles and find a large international audience, a process that continues to this day. The forgery poisoned public life wherever it appeared... The book's vagueness - almost no names, dates, or issues are specific - has been one key to this wide-ranging success. The purportedly Jewish authorship also helps to make the book more convincing. Its embrace of contradiction - that to advance, Jews use all tools available, including capitalism and communism, philo-Semitism and anti semitism, democracy and tyranny - made it possible for The Protocols to reach out to all: rich and poor, Right and Left, Christian and Muslim, American and Japanese." (2)

Alfred Rosenberg, the son of an Estonian mother and a Lithuanian father, was born in Tallinn, Russia (now Estonia), on 12th January, 1893. He studied architecture at the Riga Technical Institute where he joined a pro-German student group. During the First World War he lived in Paris but later moved to Russia. Rosenberg was opposed to the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Rosenberg later claimed that it was in Moscow in 1917 that he first saw a copy of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. (3)

According to Konrad Heiden: "A mysterious occurrence. Rosenberg himself has often told how the unknown suddenly stepped into the room, laid down the book, and silently departed. To Rosenberg it was a sign from heaven. Both the place and the hour were significant. Moscow, 1917... The globe was afire. The Tsar's empire was crumbling. Perhaps there would never again be peace. Perhaps this book would tell him why. The demon, who had incited the nations against each other, had spoken. Perhaps he, Alfred Rosenberg, understood him better than others, for in his own soul he could feel more strongly than others the mesh woven by hatred and love between the nations. He came from the Tsar's Baltic, German provinces. He could scarcely say whether he was more Russian or more German. But today there were greater things concerning which he must achieve clarity.... Surely one of the most astounding, far-reaching, and bloody conspiracies of all time was bound to that hour. He who could read would go far." (4)

At the end of the 1918 Henry Ford purchased the Dearborn Independent. He told the readers: "I am very much interested in the future not only of my own country, but of the whole world, and I have definite ideas and ideals that I believe are practical for the good of all and I intend giving them to the public without having them garbled, distorted or misrepresented." He also announced that he was willing to spend $10 million to finance the publication. He told the editor that he did not want any mention of Ford's industrial enterprise. Unlike most newspapers, it carried no advertisements. (5)

In 1919 he told the New York World: "International financiers are behind all war. They are what is called the international Jew: German-Jews, French-Jews, English-Jews, American-Jews... a Jew is a threat." In 1920 Ford was given a copy of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Beginning in 1920, the Dearborn Independent, published a series of articles based in part on the Protocols. The International Jew, the book that included this series, was translated into at least 16 languages. (6)

Adolf Hitler met Alfred Rosenberg in 1920 and according to Louis L. Snyder "Hitler was fascinated by the young man's seemingly vast fund of knowledge". (7) Rosenberg gave Hitler a copy of the Protocols and a copy of his pamphlet, The Mark of the Jews in the History of the World (1919). Rosenberg claimed that he had "indisputable" evidence of Jewish plans for world domination, namely the record of a secret Jewish meeting, at which such a plan had been worked out." Rosenberg joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1923. (8)

Hitler wrote about the Protocols in his autobiography, Mein Kampf (1925): "To what extent the whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best proof that they are authentic. What many Jews may do unconsciously is here consciously exposed. And that is what matters. It is completely indifferent from what Jewish brain these disclosures originate; the important thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as their ultimate final aims. The best criticism applied to them, however, is reality. Anyone who examines the historical development of the last hundred years from the standpoint of this book will at once understand the screaming of the Jewish press. For once this book has become the common property of a people, the Jewish menace may be considered as broken." (9)

During the 1920s and 1930s, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion played an important part in the Nazis' propaganda arsenal. The Nazi party published at least 23 editions of the Protocols between 1919 and 1939. Following the Nazis' seizure of power in 1933, most schools used the Protocols to indoctrinate students. Heinrich Himmler noted in his diary about the Protocols: "A book that explains everything and tells us whom we must fight against next time." (10)

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt, the daughter of Paul and Martha Arendt, was born in Hanover on 14th October 1906. Her father was a successful businessman but held progressive political opinions. Paul and Martha were both members of the German Social Democratic Party. Paul had been suffering from syphilis for many years and died in a psychiatric hospital in 1913 when Hannah was only seven. It has been claimed by Derwent May that "those who knew her well could see that Hannah kept a deep sorrow buried inside her." (11)

Hannah's mother had no religious faith but she brought her daughter up to be proud of her Jewish heritage. She had little interest in tradition or ritual. Hannah felt that her dark brown eyes made her look a little different than other children. There was the odd anti-Semitic comment but anti-Semitism was not a serious problem in those years. (12)

Hannah's mother made it clear how she respond to anti-Semitism: "When my teachers made anti-Semitic remarks - mostly not about me, but about other Jewish girls, eastern Jewish students in particular - I was told to get up immediately, leave the classroom, come home, and report everything exactly. Then my mother wrote one of her many registered letters; and for me the matter was completely settled. I had a day off from school, and that was marvelous! But when it came from children, I was not permitted to tell about it at home. That defended yourself against what came from children." (13)

In 1920, when she was thirteen, her mother married again. Her new husband, Martin Beerwald, a successful Jewish businessman, had two teenage daughters (his first wife had died a few years before), Clara, who was now twenty, and Eva who was nineteen. They were all supporters of the Social Democratic Party and Hannah enjoyed the political discussions that took place in the family. (14)

Hannah Arendt was an extremely intelligent teenager and became interested in Greek philosophy. "Headstrong and independent, she displayed a precocious aptitude for the life of the mind. And while she might risk confrontation with a teacher who offended her with an inconsiderate remark - she was briefly expelled for leading a boycott of the teacher's classes." (15)

Hannah's fellow students found her a very attractive young woman. Hannah was described as having "striking looks: thick, dark hair, a long, oval face, and brilliant eyes". One student claimed that she had "lonely eyes" but "starry when she was happy and excited". Another friend described them as "deep, dark, remote pools of inwardness." (16)

Arendt later recalled that life was difficult as a Jew living in Germany: "One thing was certain: if one wanted to avoid all ambiguities of social existence, one had to resign oneself to the fact that to be a Jew meant to belong either to an over privileged upper class or to an underprivileged mass which, in Western and Central Europe, one could belong to only through an intellectual and somewhat artificial solidarity." (17)

At the age of sixteen, Martha Arendt, arranged for her to spend two terms studying in Berlin, where the family had friends. Hannah lived in a student residence and took classes in Latin and Greek at the university, where she was introduced to theology by Romano Guardini, a Christian existentialist, who introduced her to the work of Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Jaspers. (18)

Martin Heidegger

In 1924 Hannah went to University of Marburg where she studied philosophy under Martin Heidegger. He was thirty-five years old and married to Elfride Heidegger when they met: "He was an exceptionally brilliant man but, in his professional and private life, a cautious one... He was also, it would seem, rather vain and self-conscious: he was short, and always insisted on sitting down when he was photographed, so that this would be less apparent." (19)

Elfride and Martin Heidegger
Elfride and Martin Heidegger

Hannah attended her first Heidegger lecture in November 1924. He argued that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had taken philosophy in the wrong direction and "turned away from awe-filled contemplation of the actual existence of things toward an abstract metaphysics of ideas and ideal types". This "pre-Christian belief in eternal ideal types and the unity of the universe made him especially attractive eight hundred years later to St. Augustine, who sought to establish an intellectual basis for Christian thought." (20)

Heidegger preferred the pre-Socratics because their thought focused on actual existence. He went on to argue that the decline of civilisation from the earliest heights of pre-Socratic thought had been accelerated by Christianity, which distracted one from the essential fact of existence by directing attention to an afterlife. Hannah later claimed that it was his early lectures that convinced her that he was "the hidden king of thinking". (21)

Heidegger quoted Cato the Elder as saying: "Never is he more active than when he does nothing, never is he less alone than when he is by himself". The central characteristic of this type of thinking is the presence of a second internal voice to hear and test ideas: responding, revising, or rejecting. "The second voice reacts to what the first reacts to what the first proposes, if indeed the two can be told apart definitely. It is the twin-one duality of the mind that makes it possible for the self to reflect on itself, to assess its ideas, even to judge itself." (22)

After one lecture at the beginning of February 1925, Heidegger approached Hannah Arendt and suggested she came to see him in his office. He asked about the lectures and about the philosophers she had been reading. A few days later they began an affair. "He (Heidegger) responded to Hannah's youth, her beauty and her mind. Many years later he declared to her that it was she who had inspired his thought in these years of the mid-1920s... They were lovers for several months... and they would meet in the attic room where she lodged." (23)

Heidegger wrote: "You are my pupil and I your teacher, but that is only the occasion for what has happened to us. I will never be able to call you mine, but from now on you will belong in my life, and I shall grow with you." In another letter he said: "Love is rich beyond all other possible human experiences... because we become what we love and yet remain ourselves... Love transforms gratitude into loyalty to ourselves and unconditional faith in the other... Nothing like it has ever happened to me." (24)

What we know about the first months of their love affair comes mostly from Heidegger's letters to Arendt, which she saved. For whatever reasons, he did not save her letters. Heidegger made it clear that he would never leave his wife, Elfride Heidegger, and their two children. "There are shadows only where there is also sun." Hannah accepted this and agreed to keep the relationship a secret. (25) According to Mary McCarthy, her love affair with Heidegger was the most important that she had in her life. (26) Although she accepted that it was a man of weak character and a "notorious liar". (27)

Elfride and Martin Heidegger and their two children, Jorg and Hermann (c. 1928)
Elfride and Martin Heidegger and their two children, Jorg and Hermann (c. 1928)

Hannah Arendt later justified her relationship with a married man with children. She believed that the love between them deserved to be preserved and nurtured independently of any social convention or competing obligation. Although his wife was an intelligent woman she could "not participate in his deepest thought or be the companion that he needed to overcome his alienation from the world." Hannah "did not expect their love to last forever, neither could she deny it or feel in any way ashamed". However, as Daniel Maier-Katkin has pointed out: "It was naive... not to see that a deceitful and adulterous husband might also be untrustworthy and undependable as a lover." (28)

Other students who Heidegger had a major influence over included Hans Jonas, Karl Löwith, and Herbert Marcuse. Like Arendt, they were all "non-Jewish Jews". Heidegger was considered to be an excellent teacher: "Heidegger's impact as a teacher and mentor was, according to most extant accounts, inordinately profound. Few scholars who experienced his mesmerizing lectures and seminars remained untransformed. By the same token, students who fell under his powerful philosophical shadow often had difficulty extricating themselves and establishing an independent intellectual identity - a dilemma that even his most gifted students were forced to confront. Needless to say, such problems were compounded in the case of his extraordinarily talented Jewish students, men and women who often first experienced their Jewish identity in the crosshairs of German anti-Semitism." (29)

Elfride Heidegger was not very well liked, indeed was deeply resented in some circles. Although she had some Jewish friends, Elfride was openly anti-Semitic in the sense that she did not want German culture to be influenced by what she considered to be "alien" ideas and aesthetics. She was a traditionalist who loved to go on walks while singing popular folk songs. She disliked the pluralism and modernism of the Weimar Republic and was an early supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. (30)

One day the Heidegger family and a group of philosophy students went for a hike and a picnic lunch in the Black Forest. They held an athletic competition and one of the students, Günther Stern, was an easy winner. Elfride was very impressed with this young man who she already knew to be a very fine musician, as well as a talented student in philosophy and literature. At the end of the day Elfride told Stern that he was an exceptional specimen of humanity and that such a young man ought to be a member of the Nazi Party. He replied that as he was Jewish he did not think the party would have a place for him. (31)

Jorg Heidegger was born in January 1919. The following year Elfride became pregnant but Martin was not the father as he had been working abroad at the time of conception. Elfride's physician and childhood friend, Friedel Caesar, was the real father. Heidegger seems not to have been disturbed by Elfride's extramarital pregnancy. It is possible that they had an open marriage. He wrote to her that he understood her love for Friedel. "In the end, they concealed this indiscretion from the world, continuing as husband and wife... Thus they remained, or seemed to remain, within the community of traditional values, and to avoid the stigma of adultery in her case and of having been a cuckold in his." (32)

Hannah Arendt (1924)
Hannah Arendt (1924)

In the summer of 1925, Hannah relationship with Martin Heidegger began to weaken. In a letter to him she explained the way she was feeling. Derwent May explained: "After her happy childhood, she says that she had become dull and self-preoccupied for a long time. noticing things but not responding to them with any feeling, and finding a protection for herself in this state of mind. Heidegger had released her from this spell, so that the world had become full of colour and fascination and mystery for her again." (33)

Hannah Arendt left University of Marburg and moved to the University of Freiburg, where she studied under Edmund Husserl, a man who had inspired Heidegger's philosophy. Husserl was very impressed with Heidegger recent work and wrote to Erich Jaensch saying. "He is without doubt the most important figure among the rising generation of philosophers... predestined to be a philosopher of great stature, a leader far beyond the confusions and frailties of the present age." (34)

Arendt wrote that Heidegger recognised before anyone else that philosophy was almost dead. It had been formulated into schools of thought and compartmentalized into such disciplines such as logic, ethics, and epistemology, and was not so much taught as "finished off by abysmal boredom." Heidegger did not participate in the "endless chatter about philosophy," rehearsing the teachings of others. He read all the earlier thinkers, and he read them, Arendt said, better than anyone ever had, and perhaps better than anyone ever will again. "His intention was not merely to comprehend or absorb the lessons taught by others, but to interrogate the masters, to think with and against them." (35)

On 9th January, 1926, Arendt visited Heidegger and complained that she felt forgotten. In a letter to Arendt he tried to explain his position: "It is not from indifference, not because external circumstance intruded between us, but because I had to forget and will forget you whenever I withdraw into the final stages of my work. This is not a matter of hours or days, but a process that develops over weeks and months and then subsides. And this withdrawal from everything human and breaking off of all connections is, with regard to creative work, the most magnificent human experience... but with regard to concrete situations, it is the most repugnant thing one can encounter. One's heart is ripped from one's body." (36)

The book Heidegger was working on with Hannah, Being and Time, was published in 1927. Heidegger approached philosophy in a different way. His work was deeply influenced by Charles Darwin that had provided an alternative to Genesis's account of creation and Albert Einstein had reconceptualized the material universe. The ascent of industrialized technology had elevated reason above faith in Western culture. "The various sciences broke away from philosophy, which had for centuries been their home; and all that seemed to be left behind was metaphysics.... Metaphysics came to signify the capacity of the mind to penetrate beyond the physical realm into an extended universe of intangibles filled with questions about the existence of God, the soul, what we are doing when we are thinking, or whether we can be certain that the world as it appears to us is the same as the world as it actually exists." (37)

Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche were inventive philosophers in the nineteenth century thinking outside of the mainstream. These two became increasingly important over time, but neither was well known or widely read in their own lifetimes or in the early years of the twentieth century. Anthony Grayling argues that Heidegger's work was important in the development of what became known as existentialism: "Commentators on existentialism find its roots in the writings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger... Existentialism... is a concomitant of an atheist view that whatever meaning attaches to human existence is found in it or imposed on it by human beings themselves, for one premise of atheism is that no purpose is established for mankind from outside... The four values which individuals... can impose on the meaninglessness of existence to give it value: namely love, freedom, human dignity, and creativity." (38)

Interestingly, the word "love" appears only once in all 500 pages of the book. Heidegger asks a series of questions: "What is existence?" "What is time?" "What is a thing?" "What is a work of art: Is it only the canvas and oils, or does something less tangible also exist there?" But he never questioned the meaning or existence of love. He appeared obsessed with death, "which carries us out of this world, that he failed to notice that it is love which connects us to it." (39) Karl Jaspers commented that because love was absent from Being and Time, the book's style was unlovable. (40)

The anchoring concepts of Being and Time are "being" and "disclosure". These are discussed in existentialist terms. Disclosure is effected by anxiety. It has been pointed out that "anxiety is not fear, which is always fear of something particular, but rather is an indefinite and general mood of dread or anguish." We are thrown into the world without any answers available to the question, "Why am I here, why am I here now?" Heidegger suggests that we deal with this question by the "process of looking at the things around us to find possibilities for escaping our dread." (41)

Within a few years, this book was recognized as a truly epoch-making work of 20th century philosophy. It earned Heidegger, in the fall of 1927, full professorship at Marburg, and one year later, after Husserl’s retirement from teaching, the chair of philosophy at University of Freiburg. (42) It catapulted Heidegger to a position of international intellectual visibility and provided the philosophical impetus for a number of later programmes and ideas in the contemporary European tradition, including the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre. (43)

The Concept of Love in Augustine

Hannah Arendt moved to the University of Heidelberg where she became friends with a group of intellectuals that included: Karl Jaspers, Heinrich Blücher, Benno von Wiese, Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Frankenstein, Erich Neumann, Hugo Friedrich, Erwin Loewenson, Hans Jonas and Kurt Blumenfeld, the president of the German Zionist Federation. Jonas said that Hannah had a "genius for friendship". Arendt soon began an affair with Loewenson, a young writer from Berlin. (44)

Arendt also had a sexual relationship with Von Wiese, "who was tall, thin, fair-haired, refined, aristocratic, brilliant, and although only a few years older than Hannah, was already professorial and a respected figure in the field of literary history." They were together for two years, "but in the end he claimed to need a wife more dedicated to domesticity." It has also been claimed that he might have been unwilling to marry a Jewish woman. (45)

The most important person she came to know in Heidelberg was Karl Jaspers, who taught her philosophy. He shared with Heidegger the fundamental existentialist convictions. He had been influenced by the works of Karl Marx and "saw modern technology as rendering men mindless and mechanical, utterly alienated from all sense of their Being, as it incorporated them into its own mindless systems." Arendt never considered him so profound a thinker as Heidegger, but preferred his outlook on life. Jaspers was excited by the freedom given to man by finding himself in an empty universe. "The fact that there was no authority, no ultimate truth, provided men with the adventure of finding their own truth - and the further adventure of reaching out to other men to share their thought and discoveries." Jaspers taught his students: "Think for yourself, but in your thinking place yourself also in the situation of every other man." (46)

Hannah Arendt occasionally met Martin Heidegger but in April 1928 he told her because of his fame he would not be able to visit her again. A few days later she wrote to him about their relationship: "I have been anxious the last few days, suddenly overcome by an almost bafflingly urgent fear... I love you as I did on the first day - you know that, and I have always known it... The path you showed me is longer and more difficult than I thought. It requires a long life in its entirety... I would lose my right to live if I lost my love for you, but I would lose this love and its reality if I shirked the responsibility to be constant it forces on me." (47)

Under Jasper's supervision, Arendt worked on her doctoral dissertation, which she had decided would be a study of the idea of love in the thought of Augustine of Hippo in The Confessions (397-398 AD), Arendt admitted, "that for her, every thought had something to do with personal experience, that every thought was a glance backward, an afterthought, a reflection on early matters or events." (48) In 1929 Arendt published The Concept of Love in Augustine. "It is an austere, systematic study, relating Augustine's different concepts of love to the human experience of time." (49)

Arendt argued that Augustine believed that: "Happiness springs into existence when the gap between lover and beloved has been closed; then desire yields to satisfaction and calm quietude. Love is each human being's possibility of gaining happiness. Once we have the object of our desire, however, we begin to feel threatened by the possibility of its loss.. Fear of loss corresponds to the desire to have. The great paradox is that since all things of the world are temporary, love threatens to leave us in a perpetual state of fear and mourning... If man most craves freedom from fear, he will turn away from love of worldly things that can only be lost, and will embrace the eternal Being that exists outside of past, present, and future, the Being from which we come and toward which we are propelled, each at the still point of a turning universe... For Augustine, love carries man beyond the realm of fear and time into a transcendent union in which each present moment is experienced in the presence of the timeless eternal." (50)

In January 1929, Hannah Arendt met Günther Stern, whom she had not seen since 1925. Within a month they were living together and in September they were married. A few days before the wedding, Arendt wrote to Heidegger telling him that the continuity of love between the two of them was still the most meaningful thing in her life: "Do not forget how much and how deeply I know that our love has become the blessing of my life. This knowledge cannot be shaken, not even today... I would indeed so like to know - almost tormentingly so, how you are doing, what you are working on, and how Freiburg is treating you." (51)

Adolf Hitler

In the General Election that took place in September 1930, the Nazi Party increased its number of representatives in parliament from 14 to 107. The behaviour of the Nazis became more violent. On one occasion 167 Nazis beat up 57 members of the German Communist Party in the Reichstag. They were then physically thrown out of the building. The stormtroopers also carried out terrible acts of violence against socialists and communists. In one incident in Silesia, a young member of the KPD had his eyes poked out with a billiard cue and was then stabbed to death in front of his mother. Four members of the SA were convicted of the rime. Many people were shocked when Hitler sent a letter of support for the four men and promised to do what he could to get them released. (52)

Hannah Arendt became more interested in politics. Unlike her parents, she had not been active in the German Social Democratic Party. The number of political assassinations perpetrated by right-wing extremists grew rapidly. Arendt responded to the increase in anti-Semitism by saying "if one is attacked as a Jew, one must defend oneself as a Jew, not as a German, not as a world-citizen, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man, or whatever." (53)

According to Arendt: "In a society on the whole hostile to the Jews - and that situation obtained in all countries in which Jews live, down to twentieth century - it is possible to assimilate only by assimilating to anti-Semitism also... And if one really assimilates, taking all the consequences of denial of one's own origin and cutting oneself off from those who have not or have not yet done it, one becomes a scoundrel." (54)

Many of Arendt's friends were Zionists, but she refused to join the movement as she disapproved of their impulse to withdraw into a culture of their own. "Arendt... resented the politics of Jewish leadership, which, having always feared the anti-Semitism of the mob, preferred to play ball with anyone in power rather than forging alliances with other people at the bottom. She rejected the underlying (sometimes unspoken) postulate of the Zionist call for a homeland as antagonistic to pluralism in so far as it proposed a benign ethnic cleansing... The judgment Arendt made was that Jews should not look only for a solution to their own problems, but rather that they should show solidarity with all oppressed people to look for solutions that would promote justice everywhere." (55)

On 4th January, 1933, Adolf Hitler had a meeting with Franz von Papen and decided to work together for a government. It was decided that Hitler would be Chancellor and Von Papen's associates would hold important ministries. "They also agreed to eliminate Social Democrats, Communists, and Jews from political life. Hitler promised to renounce the socialist part of the program, while Von Papen pledged that he would obtain further subsidies from the industrialists for Hitler's use... On 30th January, 1933, with great reluctance, Von Hindenburg named Hitler as Chancellor." (56)

Exile in Paris

Hannah Arendt had watched these events with great concern but it was the Reichstag Fire on 27th February, 1933, after which Hitler ordered the arrests of leading members of the German Communist Party (KPD) and Social Democratic Party (SDP), that convinced her to leave Nazi Germany: "The burning of the Reichstag, and the illegal arrests that followed the same night. The so-called protective custody... This was an immediate shock for me, and from that moment on I felt responsible. That is, I was no longer of the opinion that one can simply be a bystander." (57)

Arendt's husband, Günther Stern, immediately fled to Paris. She stayed with the idea of helping in some way. Arendt eventually decided to help the German Zionist Federation in collecting materials that would show the extent of anti-Semitism in all aspects of German society. Her research involved risk as the new government had already passed a law that criminalized criticism of the state. Her activities were detected and she was arrested in the spring of 1933 and held at police headquarters for eight days. (58)

Hannah Arendt was able to develop a good relationship with the man who arrested her: "I got out after eight days because I made friends with the official who arrested me. He was a charming fellow! He'd been promoted from the criminal police to a political division... Unfortunately, I had to lie to him. I couldn't let the organization be exposed. I told him tall tales, and he kept saying, 'I got you in here. I shall get you out again. Don't get a lawyer! Jews don't have any money now. Save your money!' Meanwhile the organization had gotten me a lawyer. .. And I sent the lawyer away. Because this man who arrested me had such an open, decent face. I relied on him and thought that here was a much better chance than with some lawyer who himself was afraid." (59)

As soon as Hannah was released she crossed into Czechoslovakia by night and then traveled on to Paris where she rejoined her husband. Although they lived together Hannah wanted a divorce. Stern felt otherwise and she chose not to walk out on him. (60) She later told Heinrich Blücher: "I wanted to dissolve my marriage three years ago - for reasons which I will perhaps tell you someday. My only option. I felt, was passive resistance, termination of all matrimonial duties. It seemed to me that that was my right; but nothing else. Separation would have been the most natural outcome for the other party. Which the other party, however, never thought necessary to opt for." (61)

Hannah became friends with several Jewish intellectuals. This included Alexandre Koyre who explained history as a series of dramatic - even cataclysmic - disruptions and discontinuities; not steady evolution or progress, but suddenly something new growing on the ruins of what had been established, which too will run its course and disappear, making room for something different and unpredictable. This explained the rise of fascism, Koyre argued, not, as the Nazis claimed, a fulfillment of destiny and directionality in history. (62)

Raymond Aron was a committed socialist who had been disillusioned with the developments in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. He argued that just as religion is the opium of the masses, ideology is the opium of the intellectuals. Whereas some intellectuals were willing to defend Stalinism, others, such as Martin Heidegger, were willing to justify Hitler's racial policy. Aron was among the first to see that Stalin was no better than Hitler. (63) Arendt was sympathetic to Aron's anti-Stalinism; and his early recognition of fundamental similarities in the new political systems that had emerged in the twentieth century influenced the development of her thinking about totalitarianism. (64)

Another important influence was the philosopher, Walter Benjamin. He was attracted to Marxism because of its "messianic identification with the oppressed and its promise of justice". Arendt loved "both his character of his thinking and the beauty of his language and recognised him as a polymath genius, an erudite literary stylist who dabbled in philosophy, history, theology, textual interpretation, and literary and cultural criticism, producing minor masterpieces wherever he went." (65) Arendt saw in Benjamin a mixture of "merit, great gifts, clumsiness, and misfortune." (66)

Benjamin was a collector of books, observations, quotations and ideas. He approached the past as a vast and growing pile of broken fragments of earlier and other experience, which he wanted to collect, catalogue, and organize in the hope of resurrecting dead moments of past existence to gain understanding. In the 1930s he produced more than 15,000 handwritten index cards filled with phrases copied from old newspapers and magazines and cross-indexed on a wide variety of subjects. (67)

While in Paris she worked first as a secretary in a Zionist organization, and then as an assistant to Baroness Germaine de Rothschild, the daughter of Édouard de Rothschild, overseeing contributions to Jewish charities. Hannah got on well with the baroness but was fairly hostile to the rest of her illustrious family. The Rothschild were the main force behind the Consistoire de Paris, the major philanthropic enterprise supported by rich French Jews. They and other Jewish leaders were hostile to immigrants, fearing that those from the East would provoke anti-Semitism with their Old World dress and manners, and that left-wing German-Jewish politics would inflame right-wing anti-Semitism in France. (68)

Martin Heidegger and Fascism

In the winter of 1932, Arendt wrote to Martin Heidegger saying that there were rumours circulating that he was becoming a Nazi and an anti-Semite. He replied rejecting this claim but in reality he was collaborating in secret with Nazi professors and sympathizers to destabilize the elected rector at Freiburg, Wilhelm von Möllendorff, a member of the German Social Democratic Party, who had refused to dismiss Jews working at the university. Heidegger suggested that if he was elected rector, he would join the party and sack Jewish members of staff. (69)

Under pressure from the German government, Von Möllendorff, resigned and on 21st April 1933, Heidegger was elected as rector of University of Freiburg by the faculty, and on 1st May he joined the Nazi Party. If not an anti-Semite, he was certainly an opportunist. He also campaigned for Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations in the plebiscite of November 1933. (70) Over the next year he carried out some of the Nazi educational reforms with what has been described as "enthusiasm". (71)

The Nazi Party made good use of Heidegger. "There were pictures of him in the newspapers: Heidegger, the leading German philosopher, with a Hitler-style mustache, wearing a brown tunic with a high collar and a Nazi Party pin with eagle, globe, and swastika. It might have been laughable in a Charlie Chaplin sort of way were it not for his international prominence as an intellectual... Most significantly, as rector, Heidegger signed all of the letters dismissing Jewish faculty at the University of Freiburg, including the letter to his friend, mentor, steadfast champion, and enthusiastic supporter, the world-famous emeritus professor of philosophy, Edmund Husserl, a baptized Austrian Jew, professing Lutheran, and German patriot whose enthusiastic support over the years prepared the path for Martin's elevation to his chair in philosophy." (72)

Rudiger Safranski, the author of Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (1999) argues that Heidegger was not anti-Semitic "in the sense of the ideological lunacy of Nazism". Karl Jaspers said that Heidegger was not openly anti-Semitic, but crude anti-Semitism went against his "conscience and taste". However, in the 1930s, he appeared to be insensitive to the suffering of many of his Jewish friends and colleagues, but that Heidegger was not anti-Semitic "in the sense of the ideological lunacy of Nazism." (73)

Heidegger abolished the Faculty Senate and instituted a dictatorial system of governance. He wrote letters that effectively destroyed the academic careers of dissident graduate students and young faculty members. He went so far as to recommend that the famous chemist Hermann Staudinger (who was not a Jew or active in left-wing politics) be removed from his position as professor because of his pacifist and anti-nationalist beliefs in the First World War. The Ministry of Culture agreed with this decision, but the Nazi government, "afraid of worldwide repercussions" allowed Staudinger to retain his position. (74)

For many years Heidegger was a regular visitor to the home of Karl Jaspers and his Jewish wife, Gertrud Jaspers. The final time that Heidegger visited their home, in 1933, Gertrude spoke directly to him about the hospitality he had accepted in her house over many years, and about how awful and frightening she found the Nazis with whom he had associated himself. Gertrude began to cry and Heidegger commented: "Sometimes crying helps to make you feel better." Heidegger left, never saying goodbye. (75)

Walter Eucken, an economist who worked with Heidegger at the University of Freiburg, who later joined the German Resistance group led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hans Dohnányi, Friedrich Olbricht, Henning von Tresckow, Friedrich Olbricht, Werner von Haeften, Claus von Stauffenberg, Fabian Schlabrendorff, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Peter von Wartenburg, Hans Dohnányi, Erwin Rommel, Franz Halder, Klaus Bonhoeffer, Hans Gisevius, Fabian Schlabrendorff, Ludwig Beck and Erwin von Witzleben. Eucken believed that Heidegger saw himself as the natural philosophical and intellectual leader of the Reich and hoped to shape and define Nazi philosophy for the coming millennium. (76)

Despite the fact that Hitler was willing to make use of Heidegger's support, he much preferred the the ideas of Alfred Rosenberg, who had first developed his anti-Semitic views during the First World War when while in Russia in 1917 he first saw a copy of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. According to Konrad Heiden: "To Rosenberg it was a sign from heaven. Both the place and the hour were significant. Moscow, 1917.... The globe was afire. The Tsar's empire was crumbling. Perhaps there would never again be peace. Perhaps this book would tell him why. The demon, who had incited the nations against each other, had spoken. Perhaps he, Alfred Rosenberg, understood him better than others, for in his own soul he could feel more strongly than others the mesh woven by hatred and love between the nations.... Surely one of the most astounding, far-reaching, and bloody conspiracies of all time was bound to that hour. He who could read would go far." (77)

The book claimed that the First Zionist Congress in 1897 was a gathering of Jewish conspirators. In his book, Die Spur de Juden in Wandel der Zeiten (1920) he pointed to "Bolshevik Jewry" as the moving force behind the Russian Revolution. "Over the next two years he published no fewer than four other books in which he denounced the Jews as wanting in morals, as the founders and perpetuators of the criminal Freemason societies, and as a people of decisive influence in Russia who were plotting to overthrow governments throughout the world by means of Zionism." (78)

Daniel Maier-Katkin has argued that Alfred Rosenberg's philosophy that so appealed to Hitler "revolved around the ideas that God had not created individuals but separate races, that only the race has a soul, that Aryan culture is based on a higher innate moral sensibility and more energetic will to power, and the higher races must rule over and not interbreed with the lower races in order to preserve their superior physical and spiritual heredity." (79)

In November 1923, Hitler appointed Rosenberg as editor of the Volkischer Beobachter (Racial Observer). It was an anti-socialist and anti-Jewish newspaper. For example,one headline was "Clean Out the Jews Once and for All." The article urged a "final solution" of the Jewish problem by "sweeping out the Jewish vermin with an iron broom." The newspaper also campaigned for the concentration camps to house Germany's Jewish population. (80)

Under the editorship of Rosenberg the newspaper became increasingly anti-Semitic. Rosenberg saw English capitalists, as long as they were not Jews, as the Aryan rulers of "coloured sub-humanity". He argued in July 1930 that "German master-men must systematically and peaceably share Aryan world domination... England's task is the protection of the white race in Africa and West Asia; Germany's task is to safeguard Germanic Europe against the chaotic Mongolian flood and to hold down France, which has already become an advance guard of Africa... None of the three states can solve the task of destiny alone." (81)

In the summer of 1933, Heidegger began his campaign to become chair at the University of Berlin and the leadership of the Prussian Academy of University Lecturers. However, he had several enemies within the Nazi Party, including Erich Rudolf Jaensch, who taught philosophy at the University of Marburg and Ernst Krieck, who was a lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. Jaensch and Krieck wrote to Rosenberg saying that Heidegger's appointment would be "catastrophic" as he was a man who had helped to maintain the old system, especially its "Jewish cliques". Heidegger was described as the "quintessential decadent archetypal representative of the age of decay." (82)

Heidegger traveled to Berlin hoping to see Hitler but his approach was rejected. It now became clear that his enemies in the party had blocked him. In April 1934, Heidegger resigned as rector at the University of Freiburg. He later claimed that he stepped down because Bernhard Rust, the Minister of Education, ordered him to replace the deans of the law and medical schools with party members whom he considered unqualified, but it is more likely he resigned because he realized that he was not trusted by Hitler. (83)

Hannah Arendt wrote some years later, that fascism in Germany did not allow for free initiative in any field of life. It was, she thought, a sign of Heidegger's naivety that he ever thought the Nazis would have a place of leadership for a man who thought independently and whose thought was too complicated for them to understand. "Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is the best guarantee of their loyalty." (84)

Martin Heidegger remained a supporter of Hitler. In the summer of 1936, he visited Rome wearing a swastika pin on his jacket. He told his former student Karl Löwith, who was living in exile, that fascism was the right course for Germany, if one could "hold out long enough". He made it clear that he had not abandoned his ideology, his commitment to German rebirth, nor even his confidence in Hitler's leadership. Although he did not play a major role in Nazi Germany there is no evidence that he ever uttered a word of resistance. (85)

Persecution of Jews

After the 1933 General Election, Chancellor Hitler proposed an Enabling Bill that would give him dictatorial powers. Such an act needed three-quarters of the members of the Reichstag to vote in its favour. All the active members of the Communist Party (KPD) were in prison, in hiding, or had left the country (an estimated 60,000 people left Germany during the first few weeks after the election). This was also true of most of the leaders of the other left-wing party, Social Democrat Party (SDP). However, Hitler still needed the support of the Catholic Centre Party (BVP) to pass this legislation. Hitler therefore offered the BVP a deal: vote for the bill and the Nazi government would guarantee the rights of the Catholic Church. The BVP agreed and when the vote was taken on 24th March, 1933, only 94 members voted against the Enabling Bill. (86)

Timothy D. Snyder, the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) pointed out that as soon as he gained power in 1933, the first people Hitler had arrested were members of the two political parties, Social Democrat Party (SDP) and the Communist Party (KPD), who had encouraged their members to reject the anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party. "Hitler's anti-communism was more pertinent to domestic politics than his anti-Semitism. To control the German state, he would have to break the communists and the social democrats. " (87)

Soon afterwards the Communist Party and the Social Democrat Party became banned organisations. Party activists still in the country were arrested. A month later Hitler announced that the Catholic Centre Party, the Nationalist Party and all other political parties other than the NSDAP were illegal, and by the end of 1933 over 150,000 political prisoners were in concentration camps. Hitler was aware that people have a great fear of the unknown, and if prisoners were released, they were warned that if they told anyone of their experiences they would be sent back to the camp. (88)

Boycott of Jewish Shops

Once in power Adolf Hitler began to openly express anti-Semitic ideas. Based on his readings of how blacks were denied civil rights in the southern states in America, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The day after the March, 1933, election, stormtroopers hunted down Jews in Berlin and gave them savage beatings. Synagogues were trashed and all over Germany gangs of brownshirts attacked Jews. In the first three months of Hitler rule, over forty Jews were murdered. (89)

The campaign started on 1st April, 1933, when a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Otto Dibelius, the Bishop of Kurmark stated that he had always been "an anti-semite" and that "one cannot fail to appreciate that in all of the corrosive manifestations of modern civilization Jewry plays a leading role". (90)

Members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful. As a child Christa Wolf watched the SA organize the boycott of Jewish businesses. "A pair of SA men stood outside the door of the Jewish shops, next to the white enamel plate, and prevented anyone who could not prove that he lived in the building from entering and baring his Aryan body before non-Aryan eyes." (91)

Armin Hertz was only nine years old at the time of the boycott. His parents owned a furniture store in Berlin. "After Hitler came to power, there was the boycott in April of that year. I remember that very vividly because I saw the Nazi Party members in their brown uniforms and armbands standing in front of our store with signs: "Kauft nicht bei Juden" (Don't buy from Jews). That of course, was very frightening to us. Nobody entered the shop. As a matter of fact, there was a competitor across the street - she must have been a member of the Nazi Party already by then - who used to come over and chase people away." (92)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
The sign reads: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage
the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages.
The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.” (1st April, 1933)

Helga Schmidt was only 12 years old when Adolf Hitler came to power. She remembers at school in Dresden that German children were encouraged to hate the Jews. "Certainly there was something of a negative attitude toward the Jews, but before Hitler it did not exist to the same extent. One tolerated them. One let them live. There was never any particular sympathy for the Jews. But to directly label them as our enemies and exploiters, that came from Hitler... and when that has been pounded into people's heads, people will also believe it." However, Helga and her family continued to shop in them "because they were less expensive than other stores." (93)

The hostility towards Jews increased in Nazi Germany. This was reflected in the decision by many shops and restaurants not to serve the Jewish population. Placards saying "Jews not admitted" and "Jews enter this place at their own risk" began to appear all over Germany. In some parts of the country Jews were banned from public parks, swimming-pools and public transport. (94)

Children and Anti-Semitism

The Hitler Youth and the German Girls' League (BDM) played an important role in developing anti-semitism in German schools. Hildegard Koch and her BDM friends began a campaign against the Jewish girls in her class. "The two Jewish girls in our form were racially typical. One was saucy and forward and always knew best about everything. She was ambitious and pushing and had a real Jewish cheek. The other was quiet, cowardly and smarmy and dishonest; she was the other type of Jew, the sly sort. We knew we were right to have nothing to do with either of them. In the end we got what we wanted. We began by chalking Jews out! or Jews perish, Germany awake! on the blackboard before class. Later we openly boycotted them. Of course, they blubbered in their cowardly Jewish way and tried to get sympathy for themselves, but we weren't having any. In the end three other girls and I went to the Headmaster and told him that our Leader would report the matter to the Party authorities unless he removed this stain from the school. The next day the two girls stayed away, which made me very proud of what we had done." (95)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Illustration from a German textbook used by primary schools. An example
of the propaganda campaign against the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. (c. 1934)

Jewish children in German schools suffered terribly from bullying: "The children called me Judenschwein (Jewish pig)... When I came home I was crying and said, What is a Judenschwein? Who am I? I didn't know who I was. I was only a kid. I didn't know what I was, Jew or not Jew. There were many times when I was beaten up coming from school. I remember one teacher who had something against me because I was a Jew in his class. Every time when I must have been unruly, he used to pull me up front and bend me over and whip me with a bamboo stick." (96)

Josef Stone went to a Jewish school to avoid bullying but he was still targeted by German children while playing in the streets of Frankfurt: "Germans looked at Jews in a sort of bad way.... Children always gave me a hard time. They wouldn't hit me, they just annoyed me with words and yelled obscene things at me. But, at that time, I was too young to even fathom the whole idea. I didn't really get involved until I would say thirteen or fourteen. By that time I started realizing what really was going on, and my parents started to say that eventually we would all have to leave." (97)

Members of the SA put pressure on people not to buy goods produced by Jewish companies. For example, the Ullstein Verlag, the largest publisher of newspapers, books and magazines in Germany, was forced to sell the company to the NSDAP in 1934 after the actions of the SA had made it impossible for them to make a profit. Germans were also encouraged not to use Jewish doctors and lawyers. Jewish civil servants, teachers and those employed by the mass media were sacked. In the 12 months of Hitler taking power, over 40,000 Jewish people left Germany. (98)

Nuremberg Laws

The number of Jews emigrating increased after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race in 1935. The first Reich Law of Citizenship divided people in Germany into two categories. The citizen of "pure German blood" and the rest of the population. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour forbade intermarrying between the two groups. Some 250 decrees followed these laws. These excluded Jews from official positions and professions. They were also forced to wear the "Star of David". (99)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Stormtroopers organizing boycott of Jewish shops

Christa Wolf remembers hearing Joseph Goebbels give a speech on the radio in 1937 about the Jews: "Without fear we may point to the Jew as the motivator, the originator, and the beneficiary of this horrible catastrophe. Behold the enemy of the world, the annihilator of cultures, the parasite among nations, the son of chaos, the incarnation of evil, the ferment of decay, the formative demon of mankind's downfall." She grew up believing that the "Jews are different from us... Jews must be feared, even if one can't hate them." (100)

Adolf Hitler urged Jews to leave Germany. One of the major reasons why so many refused was that they were unable to take their money with them. Hitler arranged for 52,000 to emigrate to Palestine. To encourage them to go the German government allowed "Jews who left for Palestine to transfer a significant portion of their assets there... while those who left for other countries had to leave much of what they owned behind". Richard Evans has argued: "The reasons for the Nazis' favoured treatment of emigrants to Palestine were complex. On the one hand, they regarded the Zionist movement as a significant part of the world Jewish conspiracy they had dedicated their lives to destroying. On the other, helping Jewish emigration to Palestine might mitigate international criticism of anti-semitic measures at home." (101)

As Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, the authors of Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) have pointed out: "After five years of National Socialism, the German government angrily acknowledged that threats and intimidation had not rid the Reich of its Jews. About a quarter of the total had fled but the other three-quarters still preferred to stay in Germany. The government concluded that it would have to change tactics in order to obtain better results." (102)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)

On 6th July 1938, a conference of 32 nations met at Evian in France to discuss the growing international problem of Jewish migration. The conference made an attempt to impose general agreed guidelines on accepting Jews from Nazi Germany. According to Richard Evans, the author of The Third Reich in Power (2005): "One delegation after another at the conference made it clear that it would not liberalize its policy towards refugees; if anything, it would tighten things up... Anti-immigrant sentiment in many countries, complete with rhetoric about being 'swamped' by people of 'alien' culture, contributed further to this growing reluctance." (103)

Ernst vom Rath was murdered by Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jewish refugee in Paris on 9th November, 1938. At a meeting of Nazi Party leaders that evening, Joseph Goebbels suggested that there should be "spontaneous" anti-Jewish riots. (104) Reinhard Heydrich sent urgent guidelines to all police headquarters suggesting how they could start these disturbances. He ordered the destruction of all Jewish places of worship in Germany. Heydrich also gave instructions that the police should not interfere with demonstrations and surrounding buildings must not be damaged when burning synagogues. (105)

Heinrich Mueller, head of the Secret Political Police, sent out an order to all regional and local commanders of the state police: "(i) Operations against Jews, in particular against their synagogues will commence very soon throughout Germany. There must be no interference. However, arrangements should be made, in consultation with the General Police, to prevent looting and other excesses. (ii) Any vital archival material that might be in the synagogues must be secured by the fastest possible means. (iii) Preparations must be made for the arrest of from 20,000 to 30,000 Jews within the Reich. In particular, affluent Jews are to be selected. Further directives will be forthcoming during the course of the night. (iv) Should Jews be found in the possession of weapons during the impending operations the most severe measures must be taken. SS Verfuegungstruppen and general SS may be called in for the overall operations. The State Police must under all circumstances maintain control of the operations by taking appropriate measures." (106)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Youths attacking Jewish shops (9th November, 1938)

A large number of young people took part in what became known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). (107) Erich Dressler was a member of the Hitler Youth in Berlin. "Of course, following the rise of our new ideology, international Jewry was boiling, with rage and it was perhaps not surprising that, in November, 1938, one of them took his vengeance on a counsellor of the German Legation in Paris. The consequence of this foul murder was a wave of indignation in Germany. Jewish shops were boycotted and smashed and the synagogues, the cradles of the infamous Jewish doctrines, went up in flames. These measures were by no means as spontaneous as they appeared. On the night the murder was announced in Berlin I was busy at our headquarters. Although it was very late the entire leadership staff were there in assembly, the Bann Leader and about two dozen others, of all ranks.... I had no idea what it was all about, and was thrilled to learn that were to go into action that very night. Dressed in civilian clothes we were to demolish the Jewish shops in our district for which we had a list supplied by the Gau headquarters of the NSKK, who were also in civilian clothes. We were to concentrate on the shops. Cases of serious resistance on the part of the Jews were to be dealt with by the SA men who would also attend to the synagogues." (108)

Paul Briscoe, the son of Norah Briscoe, a member of the National Union of Fascists, had been educated in Nazi Germany and was living in the small town of Miltenberg: "At first, I thought I was dreaming, but then the rhythmic, rumbling roar that had been growing inside my head became too loud to be contained by sleep. I sat up to break its hold, but the noise got louder still. There was something monstrous outside my bedroom window. I was only eight years old, and I was afraid. It was the sound of voices - shouting, ranting, chanting. I couldn't make out the words, but the hatred in the tone was unmistakable. There was also - and this puzzled me - excitement. For all my fear, I was drawn across the room to the window. I made a crack in the curtains and peered out. Below me, the triangular medieval marketplace had been flooded by a sea of heads, and flames were bobbing and floating between the caps and hats. The mob had come to Miltenberg, carrying firebrands, cudgels and sticks."

Crystal Night (Kristallnacht) in November 1938
Jewish shop after Kristallnacht (10th November 1938)

Paul Briscoe could hear the crowd chanting "Jews out! Jews out!" In his autobiography, My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (2007) Briscoe recalled: "I didn't understand it. The shop was owned by Mira. Everybody in Miltenberg knew her. Mira wasn't a Jew, she was a person. She was Jewish, yes, but not like the Jews. They were dirty, subhuman, money-grubbing parasites - every schoolboy knew that - but Mira was - well, Mira: a little old woman who was polite and friendly if you spoke to her, but generally kept herself to herself. But the crowd didn't seem to know this: they must be outsiders. Nobody in Miltenberg could possibly have made such a mistake. I was frightened for her.... A crash rang out. Someone had put a brick through her shop window. The top half of the pane hung for a moment, like a jagged guillotine, then fell to the pavement below. The crowd roared its approval." (109)

Armin Hertz was 14 years old in 1938. His parents owned a furniture store in Berlin. He later explained what happened that night: "During the Kristallnacht, our store was destroyed, glass was broken, the synagogues were set on fire. There was a synagogue in the same street where we lived. It was on the first floor of a commercial building; downstairs were stores, and upstairs was a synagogue. In the back of that building, there was a factory so they could not set that synagogue on fire because people were living and working there. But they threw everything out of the window - the Torah scrolls, the prayer books, the benches, everything was lying in the street." (110)

The Hitler File
Jewish shop-owner sweep up broken glass. (10th November 1938)

Some people in Germany attempted to help the Jews on Kristallnacht. Susanne von der Borch lived in Munich. She was woken by the sounds of people screaming: "My mother was at the window. I sat up and saw the house opposite in flames. I heard someone screaming, Help! Why doesn't anyone help us? and I asked my mother, Why is the house burning, where are the fire brigades, why are the people screaming? And she just said, Stay in bed." Her mother left the house. "After a longtime, my mother came back. She had fifteen people with her. I was shocked because they were in nightgowns and slippers, or just a light coat. And I could see they were all our Jewish neighbours. She took them into the music room and my brother and I were told, Be quiet and don't move. My mother was very strict, so we didn't move. And we heard our mother phoning people up, and my sister was sent here and there to get drinks for them. Then these people were driven away by our chauffeur to relatives or friends." (111)

Inge Neuberger was an eight-year-old girl who lived in Mannheim. She later recalled that while walking to a Jewish school with her cousin the next morning: "We saw a bonfire in the courtyard in front of the synagogue. Many spectators were watching as prayer books and, I believe, Torah scrolls were burned. The windows had been shattered and furniture had been smashed and added to the pyre. We were absolutely terrified. I am fairly certain that the fire department was in attendance, but no attempt was made to extinguish the flames. We ran back to my home to tell my mother what we had seen. She told us that we would leave the apartment and spend the day in Luisenpark, a very large park in town. We spent the entire day in the park, moving from one area to another." (112)

Melita Maschmann was in Berlin that night and "had to pick her way through pieces of broken glass and furniture scattered all over the street". Maschmann asked a policeman what had happened. The policeman’s reply was “In this street they’re almost all Jews.” When he was questioned further he added: “Last night the National Soul boiled over.” She now decided that the "Jews are the enemies of the new Germany. Last night they had a taste of what that means." (113) Despite these comments Maschmann later claimed that, "like many of her upper-middle-class friends, she discounted the violence and anti-semitism of the National Socialist as passing excesses which would soon disappear". (114)

A British journalist, Hugh Carleton Greene, was shocked by what he saw the following morning: "Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the 'fun'. Women who remonstrated with children who were running away with toys looted from a wrecked Jewish shop were spat on and attacked by the mob. There were remarkably few policemen on the streets. Those who were there, when their attention was drawn to the outrages which were proceeding before their eyes, shrugged their shoulders and refused to take any action. Several hundred Jewish shopkeepers were, however, put under 'protective custody' for attempting to shield their property. A state of hopeless panic reigns tonight throughout Jewish circles. Hundreds of Jews have gone into hiding and many businessmen and financial experts of international repute have not dared to sleep in their own homes." (115)

Inge Fehr went to school the next day but was immediately told that she had to return home. "Our headmistress told us a pogrom was in progress. We had to evacuate because members of the Hitler Youth carrying stones were gathering at the front and they were setting other buildings alight. We were all to leave quickly by the back door and not to return to school until further notice. On my way home, I followed the smoke and arrived at the synagogue in the Fasanenstrasse which had been set alight. Crowds were watching from the opposite pavement. I then passed through the Tauentzienstrasse where I saw crowds smashing Jewish shop windows and jeering as the owners tried to salvage their goods. When I got to our house I saw that our chauffeur, who had worked for us for years, had painted Fehr Jude in red paint on the pavement outside." (116)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Jewish prisoners being paraded in Baden-Baden (November, 1938)

Armin Hertz was asked my his mother to find out about her sister because she had two little children and in the back of the building where she lived there was also a synagogue. "Get your bicycle and go to Aunt Bertha to see what's going on." Soon after he left home he became aware of the damage that had taken place. "As I was riding along the business district, I saw all the stores destroyed, windows broken, everything lying in the street. They were even going into the stores and running away with the merchandise. Finally, I got to my aunt's house and I saw a large crowd assembled in front of the store. The fire department was there; the police were there. The fire department was pouring water on the adjacent building. The synagogue in the back was on fire, but they were not putting the water on the synagogue. The police were there watching it. I mingled with the crowd. I didn't want to be too obvious. I didn't want to get into trouble. But I heard from people talking that the people who lived there were all evacuated, all safe in the neighborhood with friends. So I went right back and reported to my mother. After Kristallnacht our store was destroyed and it was impossible to stay in Berlin." (117)

Effie Engel was living in Dresden in November 1938. "Just across from us there was a small fabric store that had a Jewish owner. You knew that because of his name. I was still an apprentice at the time of the Kristallnacht, when the Nazis, especially the SA, went around the city destroying all the shops. And those of us in our office were in the immediate vicinity when we watched them smashing up that shop over there across from us. The owner, who was a small, elderly man, and his wife were intimidated and just stood by and wept.... After this the shop was closed. They had stolen everything and cleared it out, and then the two Jews were picked up and they disappeared and never showed up again." (118)

Reinhard Heydrich ordered members of the Gestapo to make arrests following Kristallnacht. "As soon as the course of events during the night permits the release of the officials required, as many Jews in all districts, especially the rich, as can be accommodated in existing prisons are to be arrested. For the time being only healthy male Jews, who are not too old, are to be detained. After the detentions have been carried out the appropriate concentration camps are to be contracted immediately for the prompt accommodation of the Jews in the camps." (119)

Josef Stone was one of those arrested. "Early in the morning I was walking down the street and two SA men came to me and stopped me. 'Come with us,' they said. I didn't know them; they didn't know me, but they must have known I was a Jew. I don't know how they knew, but they knew. They kept me for the rest of the day, but by the evening they let me go. Then, on my way home, I saw all the destruction on the streets." (120) Inge Neuberger remembers her father going into hiding and "spent the next six weeks in the attic of our building. I was given strict orders that if anyone asked about my father's whereabouts I was to say that I didn't know where he was. I remember how strongly this was impressed on me." (121)

Joseph Goebbels wrote an article for the Völkischer Beobachter where he claimed that Kristallnacht was a spontaneous outbreak of feeling: "The outbreak of fury by the people on the night of November 9-10 shows the patience of the German people has now been exhausted. It was neither organized nor prepared but it broke out spontaneously." (122) However, Erich Dressler, who had taken part in the riots, was disappointed by the lack of passion displayed that night: "One thing seriously perturbed me. All these measures had to be ordered from above. There was no sign of healthy indignation or rage amongst the average Germans. It is undoubtedly a commendable German virtue to keep one's feelings under control and not just to hit out as one pleases; but where the guilt of the Jews for this cowardly murder was obvious and proved, the people might well have shown a little more spirit." (123)

On 11th November, 1938, Reinhard Heydrich reported to Hermann Göring, details of the night of terror: "74 Jews killed or seriously injured, 20,000 arrested, 815 shops and 171 homes destroyed, 191 synagogues set on fire; total damage costing 25 million marks, of which over 5 million was for broken glass." (124) It was decided that the "Jews would have to pay for the damage they had provoked. A fine of 1 billion marks was levied for the slaying of Vom Rath, and 6 million marks paid by insurance companies for broken windows was to be given to the state coffers." (125)

David Buffum, the American Consul in Leipzig, reported: "The shattering of shop windows, looting of stores and dwellings of Jews took place in the early hours of 10 November 1938.... In one of the Jewish sections an 18 year-old boy was hurled from a three-story window to land with both legs broken on a street littered with burning beds. The main streets of the city were a positive litter of shattered plate glass. All of the synagogues were irreparably gutted by flames. One of the largest clothing stores was destroyed. No attempts on the part of the fire brigade were made to extinguish the fire. It is extremely difficult to believe, but the owners of the clothing store were actually charged with setting the fire and on that basis were dragged from their beds at 6 a.m. and clapped into prison and many male German Jews have been sent to concentration camps." (126)

The day after Kristallnacht, the Nazi Party held a rally in Nuremberg. Around 100,000 people attended in order to hear the anti-Jewish invective of Julius Streicher, the man known to be the most rabid anti-semite in Nazi Germany. "Photographs of the rally show relatively few men in uniform. Instead, the faces of ordinary Germans - that is, the collective face of Nuremberg and of Germany - can be seen there conveying their ardent support for their government and the eliminationist program." (127)

On the 11th November, 1938, Susanne von der Borch attended a meeting of the German Girls' League: "A few of the Hitler Youth leaders were there, who I normally liked a lot. And they were standing there telling us how they had spent the night. They said they had been at a shop, the Eichengrun in Munich, and they'd smashed the windows, and they'd got hold of one Jew and shaved the hair on his head. And I said, You horrible pigs! And I thought, I have to find out the truth, what was really going on. And that was when I really started to ask serious questions." (128)

Case Study: Miltenberg Synagogue

On 11th November, 1938, Paul Briscoe was told by his teacher that the day's lessons had been cancelled and that they had to attend a meeting in Miltenberg: "Whatever was going to happen must have been planned well in advance, for the streets were lined with Brownshirts and Party officials, and the boys from the senior school were assembled in the uniform of the Hitler Youth. A festival atmosphere filled the town. Party flags, red, black and white, hung from first-floor windows, fluttering and snapping in the breeze - just as they did during the Führer's birthday celebrations each April. But there was something angry and threatening in the air, too."

The boys were then marched to the Miltenberg Synagogue. "We all stood there staring at it while we waited to find out what was to happen next. For a long moment, nobody moved and all was quiet. Then, another command was shouted - I was too far back to make out the words - and the boys at the front broke ranks, flying at the synagogue entrance, cheering as they ran. When they reached the door, they clambered over each other to beat on it with their fists. I don't know whether they broke the lock or found a key, but suddenly another cheer went up as the door opened and the big boys rushed in. We youngsters stood still and silent, not knowing what to expect."

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Miltenberg Synagogue

Herr Göpfert ordered Briscoe and the other young boys to go into the synagogue: "Inside was a scene of hysteria. Some of the seniors were on the balcony, tearing up books and throwing the pages in the air, where they drifted to the ground like leaves sinking through water. A group of them had got hold of a banister rail and kept rocking it back and forth until it broke. When it came away, they flung the spindles at the chandelier that hung over the centre of the room. Clusters of crystal fell to the floor. I stood there, transfixed by shock and disbelief. What they were doing was wrong: why weren't the adults telling them to stop? And then it happened. A book thrown from the balcony landed at my feet. Without thinking, I picked it up and hurled it back. I was no longer an outsider looking on. I joined in, abandoning myself completely to my excitement. We all did. When we had broken all the chairs and benches into pieces, we picked up the pieces and smashed them, too. We cheered as a tall boy kicked the bottom panel of a door to splinters; a moment later, he appeared wearing a shawl and carrying a scroll. He clambered up to the edge of the unbanistered balcony, and began to make howling noises in mockery of Jewish prayers. We added our howls to his."

Briscoe then described what happened next: "As our laughter subsided, we noticed that someone had come in through a side door and was watching us. It was the rabbi: a real, live Jew, just like the ones in our school textbooks. He was an old, small, weak-looking man with a long dark coat and black hat. His beard was black, too, but his face was white with terror. Every eye in the room turned to him. He opened his mouth to speak, but before the words came, the first thrown book had knocked his hat off. We drove him out through the main door where he had to run the gauntlet of the adults outside. Through the frame of the doorway I saw fists and sticks flailing down. It was like watching a film at the cinema, but being in the film at the same time. I caught close ups of several of the faces that made up the mob. They were the faces of men that I saw every Sunday, courteously lifting their hats to each other as they filed into church." (129)

The Miltenberg Synagogue interior was destroyed during Kristallnacht. "A section of the building was later demolished to create space for a parking lot, and the remainder was converted into a residential property. Forty-three Miltenberg Jews emigrated and 42 relocated within Germany. In 1942, the remaining ten Jews were deported to Izbica and to Theresienstadt. At least 39 Miltenberg Jews perished in the Shoah". (130)

Consequences of Kristallnacht

On 12th November, 1938 Joseph Goebbels had a meeting with Hermann Goering and Reinhard Heydrich. Goebbels commented: "I am of the opinion that this is our chance to dissolve the synagogues. All those not completely intact shall be razed by the Jews. The Jews shall pay for it. There in Berlin, the Jews are ready to do that. The synagogues which burned in Berlin are being leveled by the Jews themselves. We shall build parking lots in their places or new buildings. That ought to be the criterion for the whole country, the Jews shall have to remove the damaged or burned synagogues, and shall have to provide us with ready free space. I deem it necessary to issue a decree forbidding the Jews to enter German theaters, movie houses and circuses. I have already issued such a decree under the authority of the law of the chamber for culture. Considering the present situation of the theaters, I believe we can afford that. Our theaters are overcrowded, we have hardly any room. I am of the opinion that it is not possible to have Jews sitting next to Germans in varieties, movies and theaters. One might consider, later on, to let the Jews have one or two movie houses here in Berlin, where they may see Jewish movies. But in German theaters they have no business anymore. Furthermore, I advocate that the Jews be eliminated from all positions in public life in which they may prove to be provocative. It is still possible today that a Jew shares a compartment in a sleeping car with a German. Therefore, we need a decree by the Reich Ministry for Communications stating that separate compartments for Jews shall be available; in cases where compartments are filled up, Jews cannot claim a seat. They shall be given a separate compartment only after all Germans have secured seats. They shall not mix with Germans, and if there is no more room, they shall have to stand in the corridor." (131)

The only people who were punished for the crimes committed on Kristallnacht were members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) who had raped Jewish women. The judge ruled that this was worse than murder, since they had violated the Nuremberg Laws on sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews. Such offenders were expelled from the Nazi Party and turned over to the civil courts. The judge released those charged with murder as they were only following orders. (132)

The Jewish community was forced to pay the costs of Kristallnacht: "The Jews were ordered to replace all damaged property, though their insurance - when they had any - was confiscated. At the same time new decrees were issued denying the 500,000 of them a chance to earn a livelihood. They were forbidden to participate in trade or the professions; they were dismissed from all important posts in incorporated companies. Against them as a race was levied a fine of a billion marks, nominally $400 million-roughly half their remaining wealth." (133)

On 21st November, 1938, it was announced in Berlin by the Nazi authorities that 3,767 Jewish retail businesses in the city had either been transferred to "Aryan" control or closed down. Further restrictions on Jews were announced that day. To enforce the rule that Jewish doctors could not treat non-Jews, each Jewish doctor had henceforth to display a blue nameplate with a yellow star - the Star of David - with the sign: "Authorised to give medical treatment only to Jews." German bookmakers were also forbidden to accept bets from Jews. (134)

Joseph Herman Hertz, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, asked Sir Michael Bruce, a retired British diplomat, if he could travel to Germany to assess the situation. He was horrified by what he found and went straight to the British Embassy to see Sir Neville Henderson, the British ambassador, who hoped he would contact Lord Halifax, the British foreign secretary, about what could be done to help. "I went at once to the British Embassy. I told Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes everything I knew and urged him to contact Hitler and express Britain's displeasure. He told me he could do nothing. The Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, was in London and the Foreign Office, acting on instructions from Lord Halifax, had told him to do nothing that might offend Hitler and his minions." (135)

After Kristallnacht the numbers of Jews wishing to leave Germany increased dramatically. The problem was that the world's politicians reacted in a similar way to those dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis. Sweden had taken in a large number of Jewish refugees since 1933. However, the government felt it had taken too many already. According to one source "this attitude was shared by the Jewish minority in Sweden, who were apprehensive that an influx of Jewish refugees might arouse anti-semitic sentiments". (136)

The American Ambassador based in Stockholm reported: "No matter how great the sympathy for the Jews may be in Sweden it is apparent that no one really wants to take the risk of creating a Jewish problem in Sweden also by a liberal admission of Jewish refugees." (76) It was claimed by one Danish newspaper, Politiken, that "Europe is inundated with refugees, but there must certainly be a place for them elsewhere in the world." (137)

Most of the world looked to the United States to take these Jewish refugees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was approached by Jewish organizations to change the quota system employed by the United States. The combined German and Austrian annual quota of 27,000 was already filled until January 1940. It was suggested that the quotas for the following three years to be combined, allowing 81,000 Jews to enter immediately. (138)

President Roosevelt believed that such a move would not be popular with the American people. A public opinion poll conducted a few months after Kristallnacht asked: "If you were a member of Congress would vote yes or no on a bill to open the doors of the United States to a larger number of European refugees than now admitted under our immigration quotas?" Eighty-three per cent were against such a bill and 8.3 per cent did not know. Of the 8.7 per cent in favour, nearly 70 per cent were Jewish. As the authors of Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) pointed out: "At the very time when sympathy for the victims was at its height, ten Americans out of eleven opposed massive Jewish immigration into the United States." (139)

Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, put forward a plan to settle large numbers of German and Austrian Jewish refuges in the virtually uninhabited 120-mile-long Kenai Peninsula, in Alaska. However, four Alaskan Chambers of Commerce passed resolutions opposing the settlement plan. Felix S. Cohen, one of the Interior Department lawyers, told Ruth Gruber, how Ickes "was determined to help refugees" but that "a whole group of Alaskans came all the way down here just to fight us." These Alaskans "said there was no anti-Semitism in the Territory now because there were only a few Jewish families in each town. Bringing give thousand Jews a year would start race riots." (140)

Philip Noel-Baker, the Labour Party representative for Derby, and a leading Quaker, argued in the House of Commons, that Neville Chamberlain had been morally wrong to make concessions to Hitler and it was time to change policy towards Nazi Germany. He proposed a two-point programme: the threat of reprisals, to halt the arrest and expulsion of the Jews; and the immediate creation of a rehabilitation agency for the hundreds of thousands of emigrants.

"I think they (the Government) might in some measure stay the tyrant's hand in Germany by the means I have suggested. Certainly they can gather the resources, human and material, that are needed to make a new life for this pitiful human wreckage. That wreckage is the result of the mistakes made by all the Governments during the last twenty years. Let the Governments now atone for those mistakes. The refugees have surely endured enough. Dr Goebbels said the other day that he hoped the outside world would soon forget the German Jews. He hopes in vain. His campaign against them will go down in history with St Bartholomew's Eve as a lasting memory of human shame. Let there go with it another memory, the memory of what the other nations did to wipe the shame away." (141)

Chamberlain's rejected Noel-Baker's proposals but did have a meeting with Edouard Daladier, the prime-minister of France on 24th November. Daladier claimed that France had already accepted 40,000 Jewish refugees and urged Britain and the United States to do more. Chamberlain told Daladier that Britain was weekly admitting 500 Jewish refugees: "One of the chief difficulties, however, was the serious danger of arousing anti-semitic feeling in Great Britain. Indeed, a number of Jews had begged His Majesty's Government not to advertise too prominently what was being done." (142)

French newspapers tended to support Daladier. One newspaper argued: "France is a hospitable country. It will not allow a properly accredited diplomat to be assassinated in Paris by a foreign pig who was evading a deportation order... The interests of national defence and of the economy do not permit us to support the foreign elements which have recently installed themselves in and around our capital. Paris has too long been a dumping ground for international hoodlums, the right of asylum must have limits." (143)

The French Socialist Party published a resolution of its executive committee "noting with regret that of all the government of the democratic countries only the French ministers had not thought fit to express publicly their disapproval of the Nazis government's crimes.... The SFIO urges workers to combine forces before the hateful repression embodied in fascism, and to join with the Socialist party in opposing all racial prejudice and in defending the conquests of democracy and the rights of man against adversaries." (144)

The Jewish National Council for Palestine sent a telegram to the British government offering to take 10,000 German children into Palestine. The full cost of bringing the children from Germany and maintaining them in their new homes, as well as their education and vocational training would be paid for by the Palestine Jewish community and by "Zionists throughout the world". (145)

The Colonial Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald, told his Cabinet colleagues that the proposal should be rejected because of a forthcoming conference to be held in London, between the British government and representation of Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews, and the Arab States". He argued that "if these 10,000 children were allowed to enter Palestine, we should run a considerable risk that the Palestinian Arabs would not attend the Conference, and that, if they did attend, their confidence would be shaken and the atmosphere damaged." (146)

Neville Chamberlain was very unsympathetic to the plight of the Jews. He wrote to a friend: "Jews aren't a lovable people; I don't care about them myself." (147) On 8th December, 1938, Stanley Baldwin, a former Prime Minister, made a radio broadcast calling on the British government to do more for the Jews in Nazi Germany. "Thousands of men, women, and children, despoiled of their goods, driven from their homes, are seeking asylum and sanctuary on our doorsteps, a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest... They may not be our fellow subjects, but they are our fellow men. Tonight I plead for the victims who turn to England for help... Thousands of every degree of education, industry, wealth, position, have been made equal in misery. I shall not attempt to depict to you what it means to be scorned and branded and isolated like a leper. The honour of our country is challenged, our Christian charity is challenged, and it is up to us to meet that challenge." (148)

Six days later Chamberlain announced that the government would allow a total of 10,000 Jewish children to enter the country. However, their parents would have to remain in Nazi Germany. He also stated that Jewish refugee organisations in Britain would have to maintain them and would be responsible for finding homes for the children. (149) Anne Lehmann, a twelve-year-old girl from Berlin arrived soon afterwards. She was placed with a non-Jewish couple, Mary and Jim Mansfield, in the village of Swineshead. Anne never saw her parents again as both died at the hands of the Nazis. (150)

A Jewish boy who had witnessed the destruction of the synagogue in the village of Hoengen was another child who was allowed to live in Britain later wrote: "Standing at the window of the train, I was suddenly overcome with a maiming certainty that I would never see my father and mother again. There they stood, lonely, and with the sadness of death... It was the first and last time in my life that I had seen them both weep. Now and then my mother would stretch her hand out, as if to grasp mine - but the hand fell back, knowing it could never reach. Can the world ever justify the pain that burned in my father's eyes?... As the train pulled out of the station to wheel me to safety, I leant my face against the cold glass of the window, and wept bitterly." His parents died in an extermination camp three years later. (151)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
Jewish children arriving in London from Germany (July, 1939)

In a leading article in Pravda compared the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany with the pogroms in Tsarist Russia: "The economic difficulties and the discontent of the masses have forced the fascist leaders to resort to a pogrom against the Jews to distract the attention of the masses from grave problems within the country... But anti-semitic pogroms did not save the Tsarist monarchy, and they will not save German fascism from destruction." (152) However, although the Soviet Union was willing to admit communists fleeing from Germany it did nothing to encourage Jewish emigration and rejected requests by the League of Nations High Commissioner for German Refugees to take in people seeking help. (153)

On 9th February, 1939, Senator Robert F. Wagner, introduced a Senate Resolution that would have allowed 20,000 German Jewish refugee children of fourteen and under into the United States. One argument raised against the bill was that the admission of these refugee children "would be against the laws of God, and therefore would open a wedge for a later request for the admission of 40,000 adults - the parents of the children in question". One newspaper claimed that America should concentrate on looking after its own children. Another objection raised was that the bill would create a dangerous precedent that would result in the wholesale breakdown of the existing immigration statutes. The bill "died in committee" and no further action was taken. (154)

An estimated 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps after Kristallnacht. (155) Up until this time these camps had been mainly for political prisoners. However, in January 1939, Reinhard Heydrich ordered police authorities all over Germany to release all Jewish concentration camp prisoners who had emigration papers. They were to be told that they would be returned to the camp for life if they ever came back to Germany. (156)

Josef Stone later recalled that his father benefited by Heydrich's order as he was released from Dachau after he had obtained permission to emigrate to the United States. "He was away for about four or five weeks... I remember that when he came home, it was late in the evening. I remember when he rang the doorbell he looked strange to us. Although he never had much hair... now he was completely bald." (157)

On 13th May, 1939, the ocean liner, the St Louis, left Hamburg with 927 German Jewish refugees on board. All had immigration quota numbers, issued by the American Consulates in Germany, entitling them to enter the United States. However, this was for the years 1940 and 1941. Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury and a Jew, suggested that the refugees be given tourist visas. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, rejected the idea. (158)

The captain now tried seven Latin American countries - Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay. All these countries refused to take a single one of these refugees. On 6th June, the liner arrived in Miami and a further request was sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was ignored and the St Louis returned to Europe. Britain took 288, France 244, Belgium 214 and Holland 181. Those in Britain were safe but more than 200 of those who were given haven by France, Belgium and Holland were killed after being deported to the death camps together with French, Belgian and Dutch Jews. The authors of Voyage of the Damned: A Shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal, and Nazi Terror (2010) later argued: "What is certain is that if Cuba or the United States had opened their doors, almost no one from the ship need have died." (159)

It has been estimated 115,000 Jews left Germany in the ten months or so between November 1938 and September 1939. It has been calculated that between 1933 and 1939, approximately two-thirds of the Jewish population of Germany left the country. Almost 200,000 had been given refuge in the United States and 65,000 in Britain. Palestine, with all the restrictions imposed on it, accepted 58,000. It is estimated that between 160,000 and 180,000 of those left in Germany died in the concentration camps. (160)

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United States: 1920-1945


(1) The Holocaust Encyclopedia: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (November, 2019)

(2) Daniel Pipes, Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (1997) page 85

(3) Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1998) page 299

(4) Konrad Heiden, Der Führer – Hitler's Rise to Power (1944) page 11

(5) Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews (2001) page 69

(6) The Holocaust Encyclopedia: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (November, 2019)

(7) Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1998) page 299

(8) Hermann Graml, Anti-Semitism in the Third Reich (1988) page 75

(9) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) pages 307-308

(10) Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 (1975) page 103

(11) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 14

(12) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 21

(13) Hannah Arendt, interviewed by Günter Gaus (28th October, 1964)

(14) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 18

(15) Peter Baehr, The Portable Hannah Arendt (2000) page viii

(16) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) pages 17-18

(17) Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) (2017 edition) pages 85-86

(18) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 23

(19) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 23

(20) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 27

(21) Hannah Arendt, New York Review of Books (21st October, 1971)

(22) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 29

(23) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 24

(24) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (2004) page 50

(25) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 31

(26) Carol Brightman, Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy (1995) page xii

(27) Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, Within Four Walls: The Correspondence Between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher (2000) page 128

(28) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 36

(29) Richard Wolin, Heidegger's Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse: Hannah Arendt, Karl Lowith, Hans Jonas and Herbert Marcuse (2001) page 7

(30) Hugo Ott, Martin Heidegger: A Political Life (1993) pages 137-138

(31) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (2004) page 61

(32) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 40

(33) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 24

(34) Hugo Ott, Martin Heidegger: A Political Life (1993) page 127

(35) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 68

(36) Martin Heidegger, letter to Hannah Arendt (10th January, 1926)

(37) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 68

(38) Anthony Grayling, Ideas that Matter (2009) pages 196-198

(39) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 45

(40) Karl Jaspers, Notizen zu Heidegger (1978) page 34

(41) Anthony Grayling, The History of Philosophy (2019) page 480

(42) W. J. Korab-Karpowicz, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Martin Heidegger (2019)

(43) Michael Wheeler, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Martin Heidegger (2018)

(44) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (2004) page 66

(45) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 46

(46) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 28

(47) Hannah Arendt, letter to Martin Heidegger (April, 1928)

(48) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 48

(49) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 29

(50) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) pages 49-50

(51) Hannah Arendt, letter to Martin Heidegger (September, 1929)

(52) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 218

(53) Hannah Arendt, interviewed by Günter Gaus (28th October, 1964)

(54) Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen: the Life of a Jewish Woman (1974) page 256

(55) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 67

(56) Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1998) page 154

(57) Hannah Arendt, interviewed by Günter Gaus (28th October, 1964)

(58) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 38

(59) Hannah Arendt, interviewed by Günter Gaus (28th October, 1964)

(60) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 83

(61) Derwent May, Hannah Arendt (1986) page 39

(62) Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, Within Four Walls: The Correspondence Between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher (2000) page 21

(63) Alexandre Koyre, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (1958)

(64) Stanley Hoffmann, New York Review of Books (8th December, 1983)

(65) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 87

(66) Hannah Arendt, The New Yorker (19th October, 1968)

(67) Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (1968) pages 253-264

(68) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) pages 90-91

(69) Hugo Ott, Martin Heidegger: A Political Life (1993) page 146

(70) Michael Inwood, Heidegger (2019) pages 6-7

(71) Anthony Grayling, The History of Philosophy (2019) page 477

(72) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 99

(73) Rudiger Safranski, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (1999) page 254

(74) Victor Farias, Heidegger and Nazism (1989) pages 119-121

(75) Elzbieta Ettinger, Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger (1997) page 44

(76) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 100

(77) Konrad Heiden, Der Führer – Hitler's Rise to Power (1944) page 11

(78) Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry (1991) page 41

(79) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) page 100-101

(80) Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1998) page 362

(81) Alfred Rosenberg, Volkischer Beobachter (July, 1930)

(82) Daniel Maier-Katkin, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness (2010) pages 101-102

(83) Rudiger Safranski, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (1999) page 271

(84) Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) (2017 edition) pages 444-445

(85) Richard Wolin, The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader (1993) pages 140-143

(86) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 270

(87) Timothy D. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) page 63

(88) Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936 (1998) pages 466-468

(89) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 15

(90) Wolfgang Gerlach, The Witnesses Were Silent (2000) page 42

(91) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 79

(92) Armin Hertz, interviewed by the authors of What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) pages 26-27

(93) Helga Schmidt, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 179

(94) Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich (1971) page 575

(95) Hildegard Koch, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 196

(96) Eric A. Johnson & Karl-Heinz Reuband, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 4

(97) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 35

(98) Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (2001) page 287

(99) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 208

(100) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 160

(101) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 556

(102) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 13

(103) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) pages 559-560

(104) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 67

(105) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions for measures against Jews (10th November, 1938)

(106) Heinrich Mueller, order sent to all regional and local commanders of the state police (9th November 1938)

(107) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 100

(108) Erich Dressler, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 66

(109) Paul Briscoe, My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (2007) page 2

(110) Armin Hertz, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 27

(111) Susanne von der Borch, interviewed by Cate Haste, for her book, Nazi Women (2001) pages 152-153

(112) Inge Neuberger, letter to Martin Gilbert (15th June, 2005)

(113) Melita Maschmann, Account Rendered: A Dossier on My Former Self (1964) page 56

(114) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 275

(115) Hugh Carleton Greene, The Daily Telegraph (12th November, 1938)

(116) Inge Fehr, letter to Michael Smith (2nd April, 1997)

(117) Armin Hertz, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 27

(118) Effie Engel, interviewed by the authors of What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 217

(119) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions to the Gestapo for measures against Jews (9th November, 1938)

(120) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 36

(121) Inge Neuberger, letter to Martin Gilbert (15th June, 2005)

(122) Joseph Goebbels, article in the Völkischer Beobachter (12th November, 1938)

(123) Erich Dressler, Nine Lives Under the Nazis (2011) page 66

(124) Reinhard Heydrich, instructions to the Gestapo for measures against Jews (11th November, 1938)

(125) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 67

(126) David Buffum, American Consul in Leipzig (November, 1938)

(127) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 102

(128) Susanne von der Borch, interviewed by Cate Haste, for her book, Nazi Women (2001) pages 153

(129) Paul Briscoe, My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (2007) pages 4-7

(130) Esther Sarah Evans, Miltenberg Synagogue (2015)

(131) Joseph Goebbels, at a conference on the Jewish Question (12th November 1938)

(132) William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany (1959) page 527

(133) New Republic (23rd November, 1938)

(134) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 168

(135) Michael Bruce, Tramp Royal (1954) pages 236-240

(136) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 161

(137) Report of the American Ambassador in Sweden (18th November, 1938)

(138) Politiken (13th November, 1938)

(139) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) pages 165-166

(140) Rita Thalmann and Emmanuel Feinermann, Crystal Night: 9-10 November 1938 (1974) page 161

(141) Ruth Gruber, Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel (2002) pages 13-14

(142) Philip Noel-Baker, speech in the House of Commons (21st November, 1938)

(143) Minutes of Franco-British talks of 24th November, 1938

(144) Action Française (8th November, 1938)

(145) Le Populaire (17th November, 1938)

(146) The Manchester Guardian (21st November, 1938)

(147) Malcolm MacDonald, cabinet minutes (14th December, 1938)

(148) Neville Chamberlain, private letter (30th July, 1939)

(149) Stanley Baldwin, radio appeal (8th December, 1938)

(150) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 186

(151) Anne L. Fox, My Heart in a Suitcase (1996) page 43

(152) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 196

(153) Pravda (16th November, 1938)

(154) Kurt Grossmann, Emigration (1969) page 107

(155) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (2006) page 213

(156) Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1996) page 100

(157) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 598

(158) Josef Stone, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) page 38

(159) Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, Voyage of the Damned: A Shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal, and Nazi Terror (2010) page 302

(160) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (18th August, 2015)