Remnants of a Nazi Attack Leftovers from Kristallnacht Found Near Berlin

In the autumn of 1938, Hitler's thugs launched a brutal attack on the Jews, which later became known as Kristallnacht. Now, an Israeli journalist has found remnants of that pogrom in a dump near Berlin.


The shattered storefronts of Jewish businesses: victims of the Nazi attacks of the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938.
DPA

The shattered storefronts of Jewish businesses: victims of the Nazi attacks of the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938.

It was almost exactly seven decades ago that Nazi SA thugs spread out across Germany to spread terror among the Jewish population. The event, which saw thousands of Jewish shops destroyed, hundreds of synagogues torched and dozens of Jews killed, came to be known as Kristallnacht.

Now, an Israeli journalist conducting research near Berlin has stumbled upon what might be a massive dump full of the wreckage from the pogrom, which took place on the night of Nov. 9, 1938.

The find, first reported in this week's edition of SPIEGEL, was made by Yaron Svoray, 54, less then an hour's drive northeast of Berlin in the German state of Brandenburg. While conducting research on Carinhall, the country residence of Nazi honcho Hermann Göring, a local told him that objects from Jewish houses destroyed during the pogroms had been dumped nearby.

Upon further inspection, Svoray quickly found a number of artifacts that possibly corroborated the local's claim, including a green glass bottle with a Star of David imprinted on its bottom and part of an elaborate backrest that Svoray believes were to be found in synagogues of the time.

The dump where the objects were found is roughly the size of four football fields. An old map identifies the general area as having been in use since 1900 and indicates that the specific area in which Svoray found the relics was used as a location for unloading trash between 1935 and 1940.

"In all probability, what we're dealing with here are remains from Kristallnacht," Svoray said, referencing the so-called "Night of Broken Glass" pogrom of November 9, 1938, which saw Nazis launch a coordinated attack on synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany. Over 1,400 synagogues and other Jewish religious establishments in Germany and Austria were either heavily damaged or destroyed on that night, according to estimates of the German Historical Museum. Dozens of Jews were killed in the attack, and thousands were arrested and led away to concentration camps.

The German government is now being asked to contract experts to investigate the area. Israel's Ghetto Fighters' Museum, a well-respected institution that researches Nazi crimes and was involved in the search, has requested that its own experts be allowed to examine the finds, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Tanya Ronen-Löhnberg, an official at the museum, told Haaretz that its experts have determined "with high probability that the glass bottle is from the period before Kristallnacht."

"We don't doubt in the least that future investigations at this location will confirm our suppositions," Ronen-Löhnberg told SPIEGEL.

"There is no issue here of treasure or money," Svoray told reporters Sunday, according to Haaretz. "There is a chance here for a historic discovery that should be dealt with on a state level or the level of the Brandenburg district, where the area is located."

Svoray is well-known for having spent six months undercover with German neo-Nazis in the 1990s. The book based on his experiences, "In Hitler's Shadow," was made into a movie.

jtw -- spiegel, with wire reports

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