The reich pogrom night of 9. To the 10. November 1938 was not an event that came out of nowhere for the jewish communities in germany., like hans-jurgen beck in his lecture "the night when the synagogues burned" to the 80. As the nazis explained on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the pogrom night, there were already significant indications that they must have been thinking of a cruder anti-semitic action in NSDAP circles as early as mid-october 1938.
A few weeks earlier, the main synagogues in munich and nurnberg had been destroyed. But the brown mob also struck close by: on 30. September about 50 intruders smashed and burned the entire interior of the mellrichstadt synagogue. Then they went plundering through the streets and smashed the windows of jewish shops and dwellings. The horror march that reichspropaganda minister joseph goebbels had set in motion as a collective retaliation for the assassination of the 17-year-old herschel grynszpan on the german legation councilor ernst vom rath in paris had reached the region.
There were also signs in bad kissingen. Beck: "in mid october 1938, the nsdap district leader willy heimbach and two party members entered the new synagogue in bad kissingen. When the christian janitor, hugo albert, asked for the reason for the visit, he was told that "the existence of the synagogue is only a question of time be. Apparently he wanted to make an inventory of what was later to be destroyed.
Nathan bretzfelder, chairman of the kissingen cultural administration, then asked the association of bavarian israelite communities in munich what was to be done. An answer is not known. On 9. November the NSDAP leadership in munich learns of the death of ernst vom rath. This was the welcome occasion to set the action in motion.
The order to strike reached bad kissingen shortly after midnight. However, on the morning of 9 a.M. There were disputes on the market in november. Against 0.30 o’clock SA-obersturmbannfuhrer emil otto walter was arrested in the "saalehof" guesthouse called to the phone. He was to initiate measures of violence against the jewish population in bad kissingen. In particular, they were to destroy housing facilities and set fire to the synagogue, but in such a way that those who carried them out would not be recognized as members of the SA. He did so with detailed instructions.
Shortly thereafter, the hall of the car rental company hermann hollander in maxstrabe went up in flames, the israelite children’s sanatorium in salinenstrabe was burned down, the synagogue was stormed, and the furnishings were burned with the help of bales of straw that had been brought in with them. The fire department jolted out, but was only allowed to extinguish the fire when there was nothing left to save. The arsonists continued to roam the city, smashing the windows of all jewish homes and businesses and destroying the furnishings. On "acts of violence against persons or plunder", according to the police report the next day, it did not happen.
Between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning dear city and bath commissioner dr. Conrath, on the basis of the nightly telexes, arrests 28 kissingen jews and takes them to the district court jail, among them the two rabbis dr. Moses and dr. Simon bamberger. Eight of them were released on the basis of a request from the health authorities. Others were chained together and led to the jewish cemetery in a procession accompanied by anti-jewish slogans from the side of the road, in order to find "incriminating material" to be dug up – in fact they were rituals buried according to orthodox rite.
On 12. On november 26, 14 of the men were declared "fit for storage" by the district physician declared and deported by the gestapo to the dachau concentration camp. Five were considered "unfit for storage" and still had to stay. Kela bamberger was released, and hermann hollander died after a collapse. The police estimated the material damage of this night at 55,000 reichsmarks.
"The fate of the rituals in the synagogue and in the prayer room in the jewish community center was very different", said hans-jurgen beck. Some things could be saved by the efforts of the – christian – janitor hugo albert – for example the valuable thora rolls by exchanging them for rolls that had become unusable. Some of the cult objects ended up in the wurzburg luitpold museum in 1941, some were auctioned off, the rest scattered all over the world. The precious thora curtain hangs today in the ezra habonim synagogue in chicago. The torah scroll from 1700 also came to the USA in the possession of rabbi michael A. Oppenheimer, who in 2003 made them available for 50 years to the jewish prayer room aboard the aircraft carrier USS ronald reagan, the world’s largest ship.
The synagogue was restored for 8900 RM, but above all 2. Burgermeister, head of the district office and SA hauptsturmfuhrer willy messerschmidt, urged abortion. He was concerned with the elimination of a symbol. On 26 november, the city bought. April 1939, the entire property with synagogue and community center was purchased for 16500 RM – a fraction of its value. The demolition of the synagogue began the very next day. The parish hall was preserved, according to the police report for the city. Purposes". The rough part of the demolition material was used in 1939 for the construction of the burgermeister- and the kreisleiterhaus at the staffels.
How the population reacted to the night of the pogrom cannot be precisely determined. At the beginning of 1949, the trial of 14 rioters accused of taking part in the riots in bad kissingen was opened at the district court in schweinfurt. The defendants belonged to a wide range of social classes, from unskilled laborers to secretaries of justice. Ten of the accused were from bad kissingen, one each from lohr, stadtsteinach, hilpoltstein and buxtehude. On 21. December 1949 the court handed down the verdict: the main defendant, emil otto walter, was sentenced to a prison term of only two and a half years for inciting arson and for his "low morals" sentenced to two years’ loss of honor, with one year of his twenty-month internment added to the sentence. Twelve defendants – among them the former district leader, the district propaganda leader, and the 2. Mayor of the city of bad kissingen – were "for lack of blame or "for lack of evidence acquitted, the case against one defendant was dropped altogether.