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).
Extract from Account P.II.d. 98 Undated
Concerned by reports of the destruction of religious objects, I arranged for the Torah scrolls and other religious objects to be removed from the synagogue on 9 November 1938, so they were safe when the synagogue was destroyed on 10 November, and we were able to assist other congregations who had lost their Torah scrolls. I do not know what happened to the scrolls after the congregation was deported during the war.
Two men forced their way into my flat between 2 and 3 in the morning on the night of 9-10 November. They broke down the door and threatened the Christian owners with guns; two men with guns “protected” me in a similar manner, and after enough had been stolen and destroyed (this was done by 11 men, one of whom was the ringleader), they took their leave of me with courteous bows, assuring me that they had been there to see that not a hair of my head was harmed.
The organisation of the theft was remarkable. Cash, typewriter, camera, jewellery, household silver, artworks were all packed into my briefcases and suitcases, valuable pictures and drawings were carefully cut from their frames. Nothing breakable in the flat was left intact.
Shortly after the vandals had left the house one of my cousins arrived to take me to his house. Meanwhile I learned from Christian friends that there was a plan to arrest all Jewish men. We agreed that my cousin should not go home; he succeeded in escaping and got to Holland, from where he emigrated to the USA.
The same night I drew up a list of the destroyed and stolen goods, in order to claim on the insurance against breaking and entering, and also to report the theft to the police. The missing items included 300 DM. belonging to the congregation, intended for payments of charitable support.