'International Jewry' caused the Kristallnacht pogrom
Holocaust Deniers Say:
'International Jewry' funded Herschel Grynszpan's assassination of Ernst vom Rath and then used vom Rath's death as an excuse to start the Kristallnacht pogrom. They did so for the purpose of embarrassing the German government and to get international sympathy to open the doors for Jewish immigration, especially to Palestine.
Who the Holocaust deniers say who was behind the pogrom
Ingrid Weckert, a German Holocaust denier, plays down or denies the crimes of the Third Reich. She is best known for her manipulation of the historical record on Kristallnacht. Her book, Flashpoint: Kristallnacht 1938: Instigators, Victims and Beneficiaries 1 is full of crude and offensive antisemitic remarks and praise for Hitler's Third Reich.
Weckert absolved all the leading Nazis of any blame for the pogrom and suggested that it was master-minded by "World Jewry" in the hope that such violence would reflect badly on the blameless Nazi regime and cause it to fall. Weckert writes: "Ultimately it was not the Jews but the Germans who suffered most as a result of this event." In fact, the name of her article on Kristallnacht is called "'Crystal Night' 1938: The Great Anti-German Spectacle."2
David Irving, whom the High Court in London declared to be a Holocaust denier, racist and antisemite, seconded Weckert's assertion that the assassination of vom Rath was a Jewish conspiracy. In his book Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (1996), Irving suggested that there was "some frail evidence that LICA, the Paris-based International League against Anti-Semitism" had a hand in the assassination. However, he provided no evidence for this insinuation.3
In Hitler's War (1991) Irving explained: "Revisionist historians now argue that the Nazis had fallen into a Zionist trap. The Haganah officials . . . had hinted that it would serve their interests if things were made hot for Germany's Jews to accelerate Jewish emigration to Palestine. It deserves comment that Grynszpan, although a destitute youth, was able to reside in a hotel in 1938 and purchase a handgun for 250 francs, and that his defense counsel Moro Giafferi was the best that the money of the International League against Anti-Semitism ('LICA') could buy; LICA's Paris office was around the corner from Grynszpan's hotel."4 Irving failed to offer any evidence for this theory. There is, in fact, no evidence for this theory.
There is absolutely no evidence that Herschel Grynszpan was paid by LICA to assassinate vom Rath
Herschel was born in Germany, but his parents were Polish Jews who could never get German citizenship, which was based on blood, not residency or any other qualification. In 1936, when he was 15, Herschel's parents sent him to Paris, France to live with his aunt and uncle, hoping to remove at least one of their family members from possible harm's way in Germany. Herschel was supposed to help his uncle in his tailoring business and go to school. His parents sent money for his care and upkeep while he lived there. Herschel wasn't overly fond of work or studying and spent most of his time hanging out with his friends and going to movies and cafés. His lack of application led to quarrels with his aunt and uncle.
At the end of October 1938 Herschel learned from Yiddish newspapers that all the Polish Jews in his former hometown had been rounded up by the Germans and dumped into a 'no-man's land' over the Polish border. On November 3rd he received a letter from his sister confirming that situation. On November 6th - one day before he shot vom Rath - Herschel and his aunt and uncle had a final fight over his lack of application. Herschel took about 600 francs and left their home.
That night Herschel checked into a cheap hotel (23 francs, 50 centimes). For comparison, a new overcoat cost 600 francs. The next morning he got up, walked around the corner and paid 250 francs for a cheap handgun. Herschel went directly from the gun shop to the Germany embassy. Herschel was admitted to the embassy where he shot vom Rath, who he had never seen or met before, instead of the ambassador, who was not in.5
Weckert insinuates that Herschel was funded for several months by LICA (International League Against Anti-Semitism), a French Jewish defense organization. This is false. Herschel left his aunt and uncle's home just one night before the assassination. He spent only one night in a cheap hotel.
Weckert also questions how Herschel found the money to buy a gun without external support. But Herschel had about 600 francs when he left his aunt's and uncle's home and the gun only cost about 250 francs.6
Both the French police and the German Gestapo found no link between Herschel and LICA. There is no evidence that Herschel even knew LICA existed, much less was seduced to act on their behalf or was funded by them in any way. LICA did provide Herschel with a lawyer, but it was his relatives who approached the organization for help. The lawyer's services weren't free. The money for Herschel's defense was raised in the United States by Dorothy Thompson, a non-Jewish journalist.7
Weckert also lies about Herschel's fate. She claims that he "disappeared mysteriously from the scene." She alleges that the very "powerful" LICA pressured the Germans into letting Herschel live "securely through the war years" after which he was given "a fresh start."8 Nothing could be farther from the truth. When the Germans invaded and occupied France, the French were forced to hand Herschel over to the Germans.
The Germans planned a big show trial highlighting 'International Jewry's alleged role in the affair. But there were delays and war overtook the proceedings. Herschel disappeared into the prison and the concentration camp system in Germany. It is faintly possible he survived the war and chose not to resurface but there has been no trace of him since 1942. He was declared officially dead on July 24, 1960.9
The fact is that there is no evidence that 'World Jewry' started the pogrom
Weckert is obsessed by mysterious "provocateurs" that she says "appear[ed] abruptly out of nowhere" in German cities and towns to demand that the local police, mayors, and Nazi party officials take action against the Jews in their community.10 According to Weckert, when the startled officials refused, these strangers "sent the first stones crashing through Jewish shop windows, into Jewish homes, and began attacking synagogues." They prodded the unmotivated German civilians into violence, seducing the German civilians into a "hypnotic compulsion" that drove them to "work things out of their systems" and exciting them into a "primitive lust for turmoil."11 Then the unidentified "strangers" mysteriously disappeared.
In reality, these "provocateurs" weren't in the least bit mysterious. They were in large measure, each community's own homegrown Stormtroopers, or SA. These street thugs had helped Hitler gain power by intimidating political opposition and making the streets dangerous for anyone but supporters of Hitler. When Hitler took power their brutal and illegal activities were reined in.
The SA was thrilled that once again they had been freed to roam the city streets looking for Jews to assault and murder and to destroy their property. Their excitement is captured by an entry in Goebbels' diary that described the excitement of Julius Schaub, an ex-Stormtrooper who had risen to become Hitler's aide, but who had clearly not left his SA past behind. "The Shock-troop Hitler gets going immediately to clear things out in Munich . . . A synagogue is battered into a lump . . . The shock-troop carries out frightful work. . . We go with Schaub to the Artists' Club, to await further reports . . . Schaub is completely worked up. His only shock-troop past is waking up."12
Irving and Weckert claim that only 3 of out 28 SA units participated in the riot and that was because they misunderstood their orders. In fact, all 28 units enthusiastically participated - as did the SS and the Gestapo.13 The orders that came from their local leaders, fresh from Goebbels's speech, were clear. In Nordsee the following orders were issued to the SA: "All Jewish shops are immediately to be destroyed by SA-men in uniform . . . Jewish synagogues are to be immediately set on fire. . . The Führer wants the police not to interfere . . . Only residential buildings of Aryan Germans are to be protected by the fire brigade. Adjacent Jewish residential buildings are also to be protected by the fire brigade; however the Jews in them must leave, since Aryans will move in there in the next few days. . . . All Jews are to be disarmed. In case of resistance immediately shoot them down."14
All the evidence points to the fact that Herschel Gryszpan acted alone, distraught about the fate of his family. There is no evidence of any sinister association between Grynszpan and LICA before the assassination. The LICA attorney was asked to represent Herschel by his family and his fees were paid by contributions by people in the United States.
The pogrom was not begun by "mysterious provocateurs" who were sent by 'World Jewry' to stir up trouble and embarrass the Nazis. There is no basis in fact for Weckert's assertion about their existence. But there is plenty of hard documentary evidence that the Nazis, from Hitler on down, were the originators and implementers of the terrible violence against Jews that took place that night and into the next morning.
German Jews were the victims of the pogrom not the perpetrators. Neither Irving nor Weckert offer one scintilla of reliable evidence for their claims. Their "theories" are fantasies driven by antisemitism and fueled by an ideology that seeks to absolve the Nazis and their hero Hitler of all blame in what happened to the Jews.
1. The book in German is Feuerzeichen: Die 'Reichscristal nacht': Anstifter und Brandstifterpfer und Nutziesser (Tubingen: 1981).
2. Ingrid Weckert, "'Crystal Night' 1938: The great Anti-German spectacle," Journal for Historical Review, Summer 1986: p. 15 of 17. www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p183_Weckert.html. The emphasis on the words in the title is mine.
3. David Irving, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (Focal Point, 1996): p. 272.
4. David Irving, Hitler's War (Focal Point, 1991): p. 142.
5. For more information about Herschel Grynszpan's life see Gerald Schwab, The Day the Holocaust Began: The Odyssey of Herschel Grynszpan (Praeger, 1990).
6. Ingrid Weckert, Flash Point: Kristallnacht 1938: Instigators, Victims and Beneficiaries (Institute for Historical Review, 1991): p. 19.
7. Richard Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial (Expert Witness Report for the 2000 libel trial): Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(L)(2). See www.hdot.org ("Evidence").
8. Weckert, Flash Point: pp. 131, 132.
9. Schwab, The Day the Holocaust Began: pp. 197-201.
10. Weckert, Flash Point: p. 41.
11. Ibid., pp. 41, 63.
12. Richard Evans, Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial (Basic Books, 2001): p. 58.
13. David Irving, Goebbels: p. 274-6; Weckert, Flash Point: p. 89-93.
14. Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial:, Section (4)(4.3)(c)(ii)(C)(6) and (iii)(G)(4).