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Hitler's Role in the Persuection of the Jews by the Nazi Regime: Electronic Version, by Heinz Peter Longerich

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6. HITLER AND THE RADICALISATION OF THE PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS AFTER THE END OF 1937

6.1By the end of 1937, concurrent with the transition to an expansionist foreign policy, a new, more radical phase in the persecution of the Jews began. Priority was given to the goal of expelling the Jews from Germany; this was to be accomplished especially through further discrimination, use of direct violence and greater economic pressure.
 
6.2This more radical course was actually launched by the strongly antisemitic address given by Hitler at the Reich Party Congress in 1937.56 In this speech, he turned against, among other things, what he called - in what was typical for his antisemitic vocabulary - "Jewish-Bolshevist subversion" (jüdisch-bolschewistische Zersetzung); the causative organism of the "disease" (Krankheit) Bolshevism was "that international parasite of the Volk which for many centuries has spread in the world, reaching once again full destructive magnitude in our time".57
6.3On 30 November 1937 Goebbels recorded the following in his diary about a conversation with Hitler which had taken place the previous day:
Talked about the Jewish question for a long time... The Jews must disappear from Germany, yes out of all of Europe. That will take some time still, but it will happen and must happen. The Führer is firmly committed to this...58
At the beginning of 1938 the Office for Foreign Affairs (Aussenpolitische Amt) of the NSDAP informed the German Foreign Office that Hitler had clearly declared himself in favour of Jewish emigration to Palestine.59
6.4In order to accelerate the expulsion of the Jews from Germany, a Reich-wide move to arrest Jews having a criminal record (even an insignificant one) began as early as the summer of 1938. Hitler frequently intervened directly in these "actions". He personally gave the order to include Jews in a general action against "asocials" as is clear from a note by the Director of the Jewish department of the SD (Security Service, Sicherheitsdienst) of the Nazi Party) of 8 June 1938.  
In a discussion on 1 June 1938, with C (=Heydrich, P.L), it was confidentially pointed out that - on the orders of the Führer - asocial and criminal Jews should be arrested and used for the purpose of earth-moving work .60
6.5There also exists evidence that Hitler concerned himself with the details of the propaganda which accompanied the mass arrests. When in the course of the campaign against "asocials" and Jews Goebbels asserted in a speech that more than 3000 Jews had moved to Berlin - he did this for the purpose of stirring up antisemitic feelings - Heydrich complained to the Ministry of Propaganda about this inaccuracy. He then learned that Goebbels had used the incorrect figures "with the permission of the Führer".61
6.6Nonetheless, the arrests in the Reich capital degenerated: Goebbels`s ruthlessly kindled anti-Jewish excesses turned to riots by the Party base and threatened to endanger public order and led to critical reports in the foreign press. The excesses were put to an end "upon the Führer's order", as noted in a draft of a report of the Jewish Department of the Sicherheitsdienst.62
6.7On 24 August 1938, in a talk with Hitler, Goebbels once again confirmed that despite the break-up of the campaign he had Hitler's basic agreement for a further radicalisation of the persecution.63
We discuss the Jewish question. The Führer approves my procedures in Berlin. What the foreign press writes is insignificant. The main thing is that the Jews be pushed out. In 10 years they must be removed from Germany. But in the interim we still want to keep the Jews here as pawns.
 
6.8The last sentence already points to the fact that Hitler, in view of increased international tensions, was beginning to think of taking the German Jews as hostages. The German Jews would serve as pawns.

Notes

54. GehStA, Rep 90/2256.
55. The proceedings can be found in the same file.
56. Kerrl (Hg.), Reichstagung, pp. 366ff.
57. 'jener internationale Völkerparasit, der sich seit vielen Jahrhunderten in der Welt verbreitet, um in unserer Zeit wieder zur vollen zerstörenden Auswirkung seines Daseins zu gelangen'.
58. 'Lange über Judenfrage diskutiert. [...]Die Juden müssen aus Deutschland, ja aus ganz Europa heraus. Das dauert noch eine Zeit, aber geschehen wird und muß das. Der Führer ist fest entschlossen dazu...'. Fröhlich (ed.), Tagebücher, 30.11.37.
59. Memorandum Clodius (Handelspolitische Abteilung)for the Referat Deutschland, ADAP, Serie D, vol. 4, No. 579.
60. 'In einer am 1.6.38 stattgefundenen Besprechung bei C (=Heydrich, P.L.) wurde vertraulich darauf hingewiesen, daß auf Anordnung des Führers zur Erledigung von wichtigen Erdbewegungsarbeiten im gesamten Reichsgebiet asoziale und kriminelle Juden festgenommen werden sollen.' OS, 500-1-261.
61. 'mit Genehmigung des Führers'. OS, 500-1-645, Hagens note from 30 June 1938 on the discussion with Berndt as well as further material on this subject in the same file. For Goebbels speech: Völkischer Beobachter, 21.6.
62. 'auf Befehl des Führers'. OS, 500-1-261, 29.6.38, letter to SD-Führer Oberabschnitt Süd. In the final copy corrected to "upon higher orders" (auf höheren Befehl).
63. Fröhlich (ed.), Tagebücher, 25.8.38.
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