Anti-Jewish excesses on an unparalleled scale broke out in many German towns today. Nazi indignation at the shooting in Paris of Herr vom Rath, an official of the German Embassy, by a Polish Jew, found expression in the burning of synagogues, wrecking of shops and the arrest of Jews in all parts of Germany.
The police stood by while gangs demolished shop-windows, threw the contents into the streets, broke into the shops and indulged in looting and wanton damage. Show-cases were torn from walls, furniture broken and typewriters and electrical fittings and sh op signs smashed.
Shops inspected by newspaper correspondents had been wrecked and stripped of their contents. Looters stood ankle-deep in shop glass, broken woodwork and ruined goods. Not only retail businesses but wholesale houses were plundered. Thousands of Jewish sho ps and business houses were broken into and ransacked in Berlin alone, and there were similar scenes in scores of towns in the provinces.
Herr Hitler, Field-Marshall Goering, Herr Hess, Dr Goebbels, Herr von Ribbentrop and others met tonight to consider the new measures to be taken against the Jews. These measures, it is expected in official quarters, will be very severe.
Drastic penalties are announced for Jews found in possession of weapons. Those who do not give them up immediately are threatened with twenty years of preventive detention in a concentration camp.
Looting in Berlin
Tonight, reports of the burning down of synagogues and the demolition of Jewish stores poured in from all parts of Germany. Synagogues were burned down at Stettin, Konstanz, Essen, Dusseldor Krefeld, Kottbus, Brandenburg, Ofenburgh and Eberswalde among o ther towns. Jewish shops were destroyed from Konigsberg, in the North-East, down to towns in the South-west of the Reich.
Nine of the eleven synagogues of Berlin were in flames this morning. Berlin's principal synagogue, in the heart of the city, had all its windows smashed and its iron railings demolished. Crowds of Jews were prevented by the police from entering the build ing.
Looting was in full swing in the west of Berlin tonight. In one of the principal shopping centres crowds watched hats and coats being thrown from the second storey of a departmental store. Some onlookers helped themselves to what they fancied. The crowd applauded as notices were pulled down.
The Kurfurstendamm had the appearance of an area that had suffered an air raid or an explosion. The windows of the Citroen motor showrooms were wrecked, as well as those of the biggest cafe, owned by a Jew. Crowds parading the street tonight looked into empty windows. Among damaged shops in the Unter den Linden were the Ford motor showrooms.
No Photographs Allowed
In several cases individual policemen tried to stop the looting. The wrecking was watched in the main by silent crowds. Their comments as they walked away were outspoken. A few were heard applauding the damage, but they were a small minority.
No one was allowed to photograph the wrecking. The representative of a London newspaper was arrested when doing so, and a film removed from his camera. He was afterwards set at liberty.