Ernst vom Rath (right) and his Jewish assassin Herschel Grynszpan
“On the explicit order of the very highest authority setting fire to Jewish shops or similar actions may not occur under any circumstances.” Rudolf Hess, November, 1938.
The Complexities of Judenpolitik, 1933–1939, Continued.
Until 1935 the security police (SD) “had only a minor interest in Jewish affairs and had no specific department dealing with the Jews.” Its focus only shifted to this domain in order to monitor public opinion on the Jews with the aim of preventing inter-ethnic violence. One 1935 report noted that because a Jewish “re-conquest of the economy” appeared imminent, further legislation was probably required to check such an eventuality and avoid public anger. After the Gestapo reported on East Prussia where “the number of cases where Jews sexually abused Aryan girls is also on the rise,” it remarked that local and police officials were struggling to keep popular anger and “defensive measures” within the law.
Although Cesarani doesn’t discuss the matter, at the heart of this increasing friction was the age-old tenacity displayed by Jewish populations even when faced with deep unpopularity. Raised— indeed indoctrinated — with the notion that they are resented by the surrounding population, Jews have proven adept at clinging to a host population even in extremely adverse conditions. Jews have also proven extremely capable of forming counter-strategies in which they can maintain or expand influence in such situations. For this reason the forced expulsion features to a significantly greater degree in Jewish history than the exodus. Read more