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 9/10 November 1938 have been translated for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) and the launch of the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2009: Stand up to Hatred
Extract from Account B243 – 15 December 1938
From a statement by a 17-year-old youth to the Children’s Committee in Amsterdam.
I would like to outline our situation to you very briefly: as a result of the events of recent weeks, we are completely impoverished. Neither my parents nor I nor any of my siblings have any prospect of earning a living – and we are a family of seven. Can you imagine how the future looks for us now? In spite of all this, there would be one thing that would make our desperate situation at least bearable – the hope of emigration; but there is not the slightest change even of that. The eviction notice from our flat takes effect on 31 January 1939. All our efforts to find a new flat have been unavailing – and just seven weeks to go to 31 January. But even that is not the worst.
My father was taken into preventive detention 5 weeks ago – but even that has not exhausted the cruelties of Fate. We were struck by yet another crushing blow: as a result of the recent disturbances, my mother has suffered a very severe nervous breakdown…if you wish, I can provide a medical certificate to prove this.
Can you now understand why we are desperately appealing for your help, in spite of your letter? Can you have any idea what emotions these bare facts are arousing in the souls of small, innocent children? Do you understand now that it is indeed a duty to help in this case? In the name of my parents, my brothers and sisters and myself I beseech you fervently for one thing – help us!!