Online Module: The Holocaust and Fundamental Rights

Doc. 7: Report of the British Embassy in Berlin

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Report of the British Embassy in Berlin to the British Foreign Ministry, 16 November 1938. The British ambassador describes the pogrom as an act of "persecution of the Jews in Germany on a scale and of a severity unprecedented in modern times".

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  • Documents on British Foreign Policy, Third Series, Vol. III, No. 313.

Report of the British Embassy in Berlin to the British Foreign Ministry, 16 November 1938, Berlin  

BERLIN, 16th November, 1938

[…] On the morning of the 10th the general public awoke to witness an orgy of destruction and terror. All over Germany synagogues were burnt or damaged and Jewish shops and business offices were broken into, their stocks in may cases looted, their furniture and fittings smashed.
All the time, with one exeption, Messrs. Israels premises, no police were in evidence and the fire brigades were turned out only to prevent the flames of burning synagogues and other buildings from damaging Aryan property. Nevertheless the police were near enough at hand to arrest would be photographers of the wreckage. Amongst those detained was the Columbian Minister, who, escort and all, made a dramatic appearance at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
[T]he police who had studiously shut their eyes to the pillage of the day, were arresting hundreds of male Jews on charges unspecified. It is believed that they have been sent to concentration camps. All through the week-end and even at the present moment private flats and houses are being raided and the men taken away under arrest. Terror stricken Jews fearful of capture have abandoned their homes and are wandering about the streets or hiding in the woods around Berlin. I hear that conditions are even worse elsewhere.
I have the honour to be,
With the highest respect,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient,
humble Servant
Signature [illegible]

See full text of the report in the download section.


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