Kristallnacht violence and damage were greatly exaggerated by the Jews themselves in order to get sympathy
Holocaust Deniers Say:
The damage to Jewish property and the number of assaults and deaths in the Kristallnacht pogrom were greatly exaggerated by the Jews themselves in order to get sympathy.
Both David Irving, whom the High Court in London declared to be a Holocaust denier, racist and antisemite, and Ingrid Weckert, a German Holocaust denier, downplay the loss of Jewish life, the savage assaults on their persons, and the extent of the destruction of Jewish property in order to minimize the suffering of the Jews.
The facts about the damage and deaths from the Kristallnacht pogrom
Irving manipulates the figures of destruction and death: ". . . about 7,500 of the one hundred thousand shops had their windows smashed."1 He trivializes the damage done to the Jewish shops by inferring that only their windows were smashed. The Nazis themselves noted that the Jewish shops and businesses had been totally destroyed, the stock thrown out into the street to be stolen.2
It is also misleading to claim that there were 100,000 Jewish shops in Germany in 1938. In fact, by 1938 'Aryanization' of Jewish businesses meant that only about 9,000 businesses were still in Jewish hands.3 Irving's starting figure of 100,000 businesses would mean that 'only' about 7.5% of Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed. However, 7,500 destroyed businesses out of 9,000 total are 84%.
Irving also claims that: "Thirty-six of the country's half-million Jews had been murdered . . ."4 In fact, at least 91 Jews were murdered and the final total was undeniably more as many Jews who were arrested died in detention. There were 680 suicides in the wake of the pogrom in Vienna, Austria alone.5
Irving states that ". . . 191 of the country's fourteen hundred synagogues had been destroyed . . ."6 Again, Irving does not mention the Nazis' own figures compiled after the pogrom. Reinhard Heydrich estimated on November 11, 1938 that at least 267 synagogues had been set alight or smashed during the program.7
Other estimates of destroyed synagogues are even higher. It is possible that as many as 520 synagogues were completely or partially destroyed. One historian, A. Diamant, estimates that some 1,200 of around 1,800 synagogues and prayer halls were destroyed. Whatever figures you accept, they were certainly higher than 191.8
For her part, Ingrid Weckert called the reports about the extent and nature of the damages resulting from Kristallnacht as "highly exaggerated." She cited 171 synagogues destroyed, 7,500 shops and stores damaged and 3 dead.9
Both Irving and Weckert use the lowest possible numbers for the destruction of Jewish property and synagogues as well as the assault and murder of Jews in order to downplay the suffering of the Jews during the pogrom.
1. David Irving, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (Focal Point, 1996): p. 276.
2. Richard Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial (Expert Witness Report for the 2000 libel trial): Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(6). See www.hdot.org ("Evidence").
3. Ibid., Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(7). See www.hdot.org ("Evidence").
4. Irving, Goebbels: p. 276.
5. Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial : Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(3).
6. Irving, Goebbels : p. 276.
7. Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial : Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(8).
8. Ibid., Section (4)(4.3)(c)(iv)(8).
9. Ingrid Weckert, Flash Point: Kristallnacht 1938: Instigators, Victims and Beneficiaries (Institute for Historical Review, 1991): p. 107.