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Crystal Night: 75th anniversary

About seven weeks ago, I wrote about the 75th anniversary of the Munich Pact. Britain and France thought that it was a wonderful idea to appease the Third Reich by throwing a third of their ally's territory to Hitler's throat.

An event that occurred seven weeks later, the Night of Broken Glass (November 9th-10th, 1938), adds some clarification concerning the character of the new friend of Mr Chamberlain and M. Daladier.

Comrade Goebbels "overinterpreted" a murder of a young German diplomat (Ernst von Rath) – allegedly by a Jewish teenager (German-born Polish Jew in Paris, Herschel Grynszpan; yes, it looks like the same surname as Alan Greenspan's). This murder had nothing to do with anti-German sentiments; the teenager was simply fairly punshing the the German embassy for its continuing bureaucratic terror against himself and his relatives. Within hours, hundreds (267) of synagogues and thousands (7,500) of Jewish businesses plus Jewish hospitals and schools were looted, ransacked, and pretty much destroyed or burned to the ground. 30,000 Jews were arrested and transferred to concentration camps. 91 Jews died.

I find it kind of amazing that it took 10 extra months for Britain and France to declare war against Germany.

Those barbarian acts have occurred on the whole temporarily extended territory of Germany, including Austria and Czechia's Sudetenland.

What did it look like may be seen on the example of Liberec, a North Bohemian city of 100,000 or so today (German: Reichenberg; population in the 1930s around 40,000). Before the war, about 1,600 Jews lived there; only 37 of them have avoided death in the extermination and concentration camps.

The synagogue in Liberec was put in fire, too.

All these acts by the Nazi rabble were pretty much sponsored by the ruling party in the Third Reich (although the official sources were trying to obscure these connections). I wonder whether Europe would react differently if similar events occurred in 2013.

It's sometimes being said that the Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust. Well, I think that it only brought the process to a new level because many totally unacceptable things were happening much earlier than that. Well, Joseph Goebbels ordered a nation-wide boycott of the Israeli... I mean Jewish services already in 1933. Some people continue to organize practically identical boycotts even these days.

This whole hysteria seems totally irrational to me. As the video above points out, the Jews only represented about 1 percent of the population of Germany, they were largely loyal citizens, tended to quickly assimilate, and many of them fought for Germany in the First World War.

Nevertheless, they were miraculously blamed for everything that the German socialism considered evil – for capitalism, for communism, for inflation, and so on – quite a mixed bag, indeed.

Ninety years ago, Adolf Hitler attempted to overtake the power for the first time – by attacking a brewery in Bavaria in the so-called Beer Hall Putsch. In those good old times, a loser like himself (who had understandably found no allies) would spend five years in the prison (he was released after 9 months, for having been an obedient clown) and that would be the end of a similar painful story. Some weird changes (including the publication of An Inconvenient Truth in 1926, oops, I mean Mein Kampf) and problems in the 1930s allowed this ultimate loser to take power in Europe's most powerful – and, to a large extent, most sophisticated – country. An educated, insensitive primitive was suddenly good enough for a leader.

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reader AngularMan said...

The ironic thing is that Germany, as a nation, was so well off before the world wars. Yet, there was some kind of inferiority complex nagging at the German minds, some sort of annoyance that they were seemingly worse off than the alleged superpowers of that time - France, Russia and the United Kingdom - and for no good reason but for the belated birth of their nation.

But there was really no need for the "Platz an der Sonne" Wilhelm II. was searching for, as colonies around the world were really more trouble than they were worth, and there was no need for the "Lebensraum" Hitler was thirsting for - as we can see today Germany's economy is quite well off without additional territories.

Most territories with German speakers in it were under some sort of German rule back then, be it Habsburg or Hohenzollern, and Germany was rich in culture, science and economy. Germany was the central hub of physics at that time (and German Jews played a major role in that), and a lot of the most important technological breakthroughs in the first half of the 20th century were made in Germany, too.

This unique position was destroyed not by capitalism, communism or a Jewish world conspiracy, but ultimately by the Germans themselves.

reader Uncle Al said...

A separatist immigrant population lived by its wits - or died (no land ownership allowed, pogroms) - for more than a millennium. 100% literacy to pray, including women. The smartest village males became rabbis, married to the richest merchant's daughters, and mandated to breed. Ultrareligious rural Jews were reservoir for remarkably achieving secular urban Jews. Surrounding populations found easy scapegoats when Christian deformed decisions contradicted physical reality.

Hitler exterminated 90% of European Jews. Everybody turned in rural Jews. Had urban Jews been granted special status, the Allies would have been crippled and Germany indomitable. The cleverest, most aggressive, richest Jews fled westward. The bottom 90% of a one sigma-shifted bell curve was removed. If you like irony, Hitler got his master race.

Evolution is a hoot if you are one of the survivors. America had a Renaissance while Europe languished. The US goal was not European rescue, it was pillaging the German patent universe and colonial Europe . Ante- and post-war, the US vacuumed up huge numbers of Eastern European skilled tradesmen, locally depleting that resource, too.

The United States was the same sonofabitch that Nazi Germany was, but it knew the difference between shearing a sheep and skinning it. That has changed, and the whole world bleeds, especially asset-bearing US citizens (without discrimination).

reader Michael Gersh said...

Nice rant, but strewn with untruths. Especially the one about "The cleverest, most aggressive, richest Jews fled westward" is completely false, as the more money or power a Jew had the more likely was he to die in the Fatherland - and penniless at that. The one about "The smartest village males became rabbis, married to the richest merchant's daughters, and mandated to breed" is a famous blood libel spread by the worst kind of hate groups, and it is funny to see it here, where people can do math. Even if it were true it would be numerically impossible - it would take thousands of years to improve a herd of humans, but even your lie only applies to at most 200 years. You seem to have no idea who and what the "Ultrareligious rural Jews" were. They were hated by the seculars, and had been expelled from the cities by them. But you saved the best for last. Equating the U.S. with Nazi Germany is the real evil and most untrue statement you make.

Uncle Al, you will need to do more homework to spread lies here. Elsewhere on The Web you can make your rants and find welcoming agreement. Here, expect your facts and math to be checked.

reader Gene Day said...

Have you been reading Uncle Al’s TRF posts, Michael? As filled with errors as this one is, the prior ones are even worse. Most of them consist only of incoherent babbling.

reader Gene Day said...

My sister-in-law’s Jewish family, living in Stryj, in the Galicia region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now western Ukraine) was victim of an antisemitic pogrom in 1918. They fled to Vienna and then to Paris and to the US, where they have prospered. Antisemitism in Europe has a centuries-old history and lives on even today.
I am encouraged that Pope Francis has just commemorated Kristallnacht and referred to the Jewish people as our older brothers. Good for him.

reader Gene Day said...

Unlike France and England, Germany never really settled the schism within the Christian church. I think this contributed to the lack of stability within the German psyche.

reader Eugene S said...

Uncle Al spouts garbage. It wasn't 90% percent of Europe's Jews who were murdered but around 60 percent, still an unprecedented genocide. The rest of his post is the kind of racialist babble found on websites like Steve Sailer.

But I wanted to ask you about this:

They were hated by the seculars, and had been expelled from the cities by them
What do you mean by that? There were tensions in Prussia, in the German Empire and later in the Weimar Republic between the German Jews who had "always lived there" and the Eastern Jews who moved there in significant numbers. The German Jews would sometimes feel embarrassed by their cousins' backward ways and customs (backward by the standards of a rapidly modernizing country).

But they did not "expel" them from the cities to the countryside.

reader John McVirgo said...

You need to calm down: Uncle Al has first hand experience of growing up in a Jewish culture because of his Jewish ethnicity.

You say:
""The cleverest, most aggressive, richest Jews fled westward" is completely false, as the more money or power a Jew had the more likely was he to die in the Fatherland - and penniless at that"

Well, this looks just complete nonsense to me. A person with money has more power than an identical person who doesn't - do I really need to explain to you why this was also true for a Jew in Nazi Germany?

You say:
""The smartest village males became rabbis, married to the richest merchant's daughters, and mandated to breed" is a famous blood libel spread by the worst kind of hate groups, and it is funny to see it here, where people can do math."

Why is this so bad?

Within any culture, families make alliances with other families, trade qualities with one another to make their lives better, and to increase the livingness of a supporting social structure. It's how the world works generally, if you bother to look outside of your anger.

You say:
Even if it were true it would be numerically impossible - it would take thousands of years to improve a herd of humans"

Nonsense, a "herd" of humans can increase their numbers immediately , replacing another "herd" of humans in a few generations if they're organised enough. Muslim numbers in the UK were at 0.1% in 1961, a mere fifty years later today they stand at 4%.

You say:
" But you saved the best for last. Equating the U.S. with Nazi Germany is the real evil and most untrue statement you make."

Is it though?

Morality isn't absolute, it's determined by a group of powerful people within a society that have decided how that society should develop in a way which makes their lives better. So "good" and "evil" are completely arbitrary - one person's good is another person's evil. Some would consider Judaism as an "evil" doctrine because of the way it promotes the moral inferiority of the non-Jew compared to the Jew, the idea that Jews are "God's chosen people". To some, it reads like a Jewish Mein Kampf against the non-Jews and therefore "evil". For some Jews, this attitude rings of "anti-semitism", and so the psychological battle goes on.

America with its allies, won the war of social selection over Nazism simply because it promoted cooperation between powerful groups excluded by Nazism. And at the end of the war, their inclusivity included "evil" Nazis such as Wernher von Braun that now helped in the fight against the new "evil" of communism, or Marxism as it was known in Mein Kampf.

By all means disagree with what people say, but try not to delude yourself into believing that your view of good and evil is absolute because it isn't. It's there to serve your agenda at the expense of other lives if you can get away with it.

reader lucretius said...

For a small number of Germans Kristallnacht was an awakening: the night when they realised the true nature of nazism. This was the beginning of the German military resistance, which made over 20 attempts to assassinate Hitler, including three suicide bombing attempts. In this video you can see and hear one of the three who volunteered talking about Kristallnacht and its impact. Axel Freiher von dem Bussche-Streithorst, was a very highly decorated 23 year old captain when accidentally he came across extermination of Jews at the Dubno Airport in Russia. He contacted Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg-Tressow, who was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance in the same regiment, and von der Schulenburg introduced him to Claus von Stauffenberg.

reader Eugene S said...

Good to see you back. Listen, you need to get your own weblog. Just like the margin of Fermat's notebook was too narrow to hold the proof of his last theorem, TRF is too small for you. Or maybe not too small, but in any case you should have your own weblog and let us all know about it. Consider blogging under your own name instead of a pseudonym, too.

reader Dilaton said...

Oh yes I would immediately add Lucretius to my list of friendly blogs ;-)

While he has been away from TRF, his brilliant and educational comments often spiced up with a good portion of humor or nicely sarcastic elsewhere (he maybe knows what I mean), made me chuckle and sometimes even rolling on the floor :-D

reader Michael Gersh said...

The so-called "ultrareligious" Jews were expelled from the cities by the secular and assimilationist Jews. The rich were more likely to remain (with their wealth) that the poorer Jews, who had plenty of help (mainly from the richer Jews who felt that they had to remain, to ride the storm out) in the form of cash, tickets, and visas. You may not like it, it might not feel good to you, but that sentimental crap means nothing. I know all about the Shoah - many of my family members fled and told the stories. Many more never got out.

And I do not have to calm down. I respect the Nazis to the extent that they either truly believed this crap or were in thrall to a delusion. I have no such respect for self-hating Jews, who (mindlessly or otherwise) slander us and claim immunity to the consequences of their hate because they claim to be one of us.

reader Eugene S said...

Woah, I am not the person who asked you to calm down, nor am I defending Uncle Al. On the contrary.

The so-called "ultrareligious" Jews were expelled from the cities by the secular and assimilationist Jews.
Just tell us when and where. I am pretty certain that nothing of the sort took place in Germany. Also please give a check-able reference.

reader lukelea said...

Wilhelm II had a withered arm and an inferiority complex, and the men around him had read too much Darwin and Nietzsche.

reader lukelea said...

"it would take thousands of years to improve a herd of humans"

OT but you are wrong about that.

reader John McVirgo said...

Look, you calm down also because right now you're showing that if you were non-Jewish and living in Germany in the late 30s, you'd be involved in violent abuse towards the Jewish people. Why? Well, you seem to be a fan of Tarantino and your rant is pretty poisonous and psychotic:

"Brad Pitt's Lt. Aldo Raine carves a swastika into Landa's forehead...Personally I would have no qualms to do this to you -- I'd sleep like a baby afterward -- but there is no need to do so."

"By the way, I am not fooled by your front of a morally tone-deaf faux-autistic persona. You, sir, are a Nazi piece of shit"

"you arrogant asshole piece of shit."

"That poor sod von Virgo is obviously incapable of moral judgment, an autistic idiot who cannot help himself"

"reveals von Virgo for what he really is: a cold-eyed, calculating genocidal shithead just like the original Hitlerists"

Your hateful rant towards me reminds me of Hitler's rant against the Jews in Mein Kampf where he compares them to "maggots". And then later on Goebbels compares them to "rats". No! despite our differences we're all fellow human beings that have to, and are finding better ways to resolve conflicts via the United Nations and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But like it or not, human beings are prepared to take advantage of other lives if there isn't a social structure in place to prevent them from doing so, as shown by the Milgram experiments. As an example, Jewish male infants are sexually mutilated without being able to consent, yet Jewish culture continues to allow this barbaric act against the defenceless.

So do what I've done and look at yourself before you go around condemning people as good and evil. Then you you might understand why people end up doing terrible things to one another because they believe they're "right".

reader Eugene S said...

* * * * * * * * * * * *
* You are on my personal
* blacklist now.
* Any future comments from
* you will be skipped
* over unread.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

reader Eugene S said...

Thank you for your reply, which though long contained not a superfluous word.

I understand and respect your reasons for wanting to preserve your privacy.

If ever you want to contact me, our host has my e-mail address and (without wanting to unduly impose on his time) I daresay would not mind passing it on to you upon request.

reader Nige Cook said...

Hi Dr Motl, I have a few comments about Chamberlain's error here: Notice the politically correct wording of the 30 September 1938 agreement signed by Hitler and Chamberlain, saying that "we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference and thus to contribute to ensure the peace of Europe" and the newspaper reports, which led to both Hitler and Chamberlain's nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize (which was obviously never awarded in view of the results).

In short, Chamberlain was duped by pacifists and disarmament propagandarists into believing that London would be wiped out by mustard gas, incendiary bombs and high explosives within an hour of saying anything or doing anything that offended the Nazis. He wanted to believe this stuff because he lost close relatives in the WWI fighting and also because his half brother Sir Austin Chamberlain had received a Nobel Peace Prize, as had his friends like Sir Norman Angell who prior to WWI had written "The Great Illusion", a book claiming that war was economic stupidity. Problem was, to Hitler it was economic stupidity not to invade his neighbors, because his National Socialist party was overspending on arms and socialist Autobahn, V1, V2, and other technology to ensure full employment. Not wanting a return to 1923 type hyperinflation, the Nazis had to fund this by expanding German territory in all directions. Otherwise it would have effectively gone bankrupt like the USSR in the 1980s when faced by Reagan's determination.

reader John McVirgo said...

I'm a little disappointed since I thought we both could learn something from this discussion, despite the offense we seem to be creating towards one another. I'll continue to read your posts, if you don't mind, because anyone can change my mind, even if I disagree with most of their views.

reader Gene Day said...

Pray that you continue your TRF contributions, lucretius. Your efforts are helping to elevate Lubos’ blog to a higher plane, thus making it even more valuable.

reader lukelea said...

Watermelons. I will remember that.

reader Shannon said...

Eugene, have you become a war machine? ;-)

reader etudiant said...

If memory serves, it was initially applied to the Che wing of the Cuban revolution.
In the same vein, George Bush the elder was described as a cucumber, hard on the outside, but soft on the inside.

reader Giotis said...

Exactly what happened to the Greek population of

reader HelianUnbound said...

A lot of interesting takes on Munich were published in the "American Mercury" in the months following the agreement. The Mercury was edited by H. L. Mencken, the great Sage of Baltimore, from 1924 to 1933, and was still good in the 30's and 40's, although it finally met a sad end. It's is now online at:

Here's an interesting article about Munich published in the January 1939 edition by Lawrence Dennis, at the time an African-American fascist.

There's a blurb about him on Wiki. He thought the agreement was the highest expression of rational statesmanship. Sadly for him, WWII came along in a few months to expose the level of his "reason." It makes you wonder about the pundits of today. No doubt many of them are spouting similarly "reasonable" stuff, but lack a "teachable moment" like WWII to demonstrate just how far they've wandered off into the swamp.

If memory serves, Orwell thought that Britain and France were stupid not to make a deal with Stalin and fight Hitler instead of just throwing away the powerful Czech military of the time the way they did at Munich. However, Stalin's price was high. Recall the fate of Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, Bessarabia, etc., and there was no Czech-Soviet border at the time. In his memoirs, Kesselring, who toured the Czech fortifications after Munich, says he thought at the time it was a shame Hitler had chosen peace. He though the German 88's would have been more than a match for the Czech bunkers, and the Czech military could have been quickly destroyed before any effective British-French help could arrive, as happened later with Poland. Of course, he was assuming the Russians would stay out of it.

reader HLx said...

one stupid asshole at the conference is starving himself to save the world, since global warming is the cause of the typhoon in asia..

reader Gordon said...

These boondoggles (‎A boondoggle
is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money,
yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations)
are getting very boring...likely composed of the same hysterics. BTW, the coal conference should adopt some anti-Hansen measures since he loves to break the law in trespassing and harrassing them. Maybe spike his coffee with an effective antipsychotic.

reader Richard Warren said...

Or perhaps by certain collectivist ideas current in 19th century Germany imposed on the nation in the form of the welfare state, leading (not for the first or last time) to economic uncertainty and dysfunction?