Eye-witness accounts held by the Wiener Library taken immediately following the state-sanctioned campaign of hatred against Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe on the 9th/10th November 1938 were translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass).
Extract from Account P.II.d.751 10 November 1938
On the evening of 10 November we discussed the recent occurrences in Paris and decided to bring our son to safety as soon as possible.
The telephone rang at two in the morning, and my wife’s sister, Frau Ilse Adler, told us in an agitated voice that a number of Nazis had been in her flat and had demanded to be told the whereabouts of her father (Wilhelm Adler). She said that she had told them that he was with us, she was afraid and wanted to warn us.
Indeed, an hour later, at about 3 o’clock in the morning, there was an insistent ringing on the bell. When I went to the main door, I heard several male voices cursing and yelling to us to open up at once. This was like a raid by burglars; we immediately ran onto one of our balconies and shouted for help. Then we discovered that a group of men had got into the garden, and they shouted at us to be quiet at once or they would shoot. Then we realised that it was a Nazi attack.
I immediately rang the police and asked for protection. The officer asked me if it was a Jewish house, and when I answered in the affirmative, he said, ‘We know about that’, and abandoned us to the criminals. Meanwhile, they had begun to demolish the main door, in order to force an entry. We fled from one room to another and finally ended up in one of the consul’s rooms, but the criminals also broke down the door to this room and we were at their mercy. In spite of his 70 years, my father-in-law was so terrified that he climbed over the balcony into the consul’s ground-floor flat.