In recent weeks, we have passed by the anniversaries of two momentous events in the history of man’s inhumanity to man without much of reminder of what transpired in either case. Mainstream media also MSN has suddenly become caught up in mining the rich deposits of sex scandals of which it ignored for decades when in doing so served its agenda at the time. The academy, particularly teachers of history and political “science,” seems more concerned about “transgendered” take a leak or a crap and with shutting up students, professors and visiting speakers who espouse views which differ substantially from their own.
The lesser of these two anniversaries, that is to say the one leading to the lesser slaughter or human beings, is the assassination of Ernst Von Rath, a relatively low level diplomat as one might guess on the basis of his age, 29. His assassin happened to be even more of a nobody, an out of work seventeen year old whom we might consider to still be kid nowadays. He went shopping for a pistol at a hunting and sporting goods store early on the morning of November 7th 1938, in Paris, not far from where he lived.
Herschel Grynspar liked to go to the cinema to watch “westerns,” so knowing just about zip when it came to firearms, apart from having seen a .45 caliber 6-shooter used in the movies, he excepted the proprietors advice and walked out of the store with a 6-point 35 millimeter 5 shot revolver “Velo-Dog” which cyclists of the day carried to ward off overly aggressive animals.
Herschel gun had no extractor mechanism, spent casing needed to be pushed out of the cylinder manually with a rod. Having learned the operation of the pistol, he left the shop with that and a box of ammo.
Herschel, a polish Jew, spoke both French and German as well. His plan was simple. He took the train to the vicinity of the German embassy with the intention of shooting the ambassador. This would be revenged for the bad treatment his parents and other Jews had received at the hands of the Germans. As it happened, the ambassador was out for his constitutional, so Grynspar settled for a meeting with Ernst Von Rath, 3rd secretary to the ambnassodor instead. Herschel shoot 5 rounds at the lower ranked diplomat from a distance of less than two meter, two of which Von Rath, with the others going into the wall. Von Raths wounds were not immediately fatal, he would linger into the ninth of November. Grynspar surrendered peaceably to police, even assuring them that they had nothing to fear from him.
A powerful community organizer by the name of Josef Goebbles believed that one should not let a good crisis go to waste. He served as the Nazi minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda. He also happened to be “Gauleiter” from Berlin, the national capital. At the time in Germany the Nazi’s had divided the country into “Gaus” (districts) each overseen by a “Leiter” (leader). Goebbles got on the horn to each of the Gauleiters calling on them to organize “spontaneous” anti-Jewish demonstrations for the evening of November 8th. The result was “die Kristallnacht,”
The Night of Broken Glass. All over Germany Jews were roughed up, shop windows painted with anti-Jewish graffiti and smashed, synagogue vandalized and set on fire.
This was not the beginning of German or, for the matter, Nazi persecution of Jews. The assassination of Ernst Von Rath served as a reason for reigniting smoldering ashes. We need to remember that just as Chinese shut down part of their industrial production to reduce air pollution at the Beijing Olympics so the Nazi’s cooled off anti-Jewish persecution prior to the 1936 Olympics as a smart public relations move. Not all of the Nazi big wigs were thrilled with all of the effects of Kristallnacht. Some saw civil unrest as a threat to German economic recovery which was going swimmingly, others pointed to the loses which German insurance companies would have to cover.
Ernst Von Rath succumbed to his injuries on November 9th 1938. Adolf Hitler sat with the Von Rath family at a lavish state funeral after giving the diplomat a promotion to the title of first counselor. The attempt to make Von Rath a martyr for the Nazi cause eventually faltered.
Grynspar wound up in the Sachenshausen Concentration Camp but in the role of an attendant to German officers as the intended show trial became bogged down in endless delays.
What is important is that the assassination provided the Nazi’s with the pretext for carrying out the Holocaust in which ten 10 ½ to twelve million human beings were liquidated, about half of them Jews but also Poles, Catholics, Protestants, Homosexuals, Communists and other minorities.
To be continued with a ten-fold greater slaughter