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Amsterdam, 24. November 1938

In Vienna the "Volkswut“  broke out on 10th November. This rage was directed, as is everything nowadays of course, and in Vienna it was said that this Volkswut had forgotten to break out e.g. in Danzig, and so it first happened three days later under the same conditions as in the Reich. – Suddenly the synagogues began to blaze, suddenly all the shops were smashed up, people arrested, and the shops of Jewish proprietors closed.

I was able to observe the following myself: the SS, SA and police seem to have received instructions to arrest all Jewish men aged between 18 and 60 early on Thursday morning.

The pretext for house seaches was a general search for weapons, in Vienna merely three revolvers were found, in distinction to the Reich. In contrast everything was confiscated, such as gold, silver, cash, valuable objects, in many cases even linen, clothes and otherwise anything that pleased the hordes. The procedure was nevertheless inconsistent.

When the men were arrested, the mob showed themselves as relatively decent in some houses, in other houses on the contrary they beat up the arrestees.

In Vienna it is said that the hospitals are overflowing. Many Jews released from Schutzhaft appear with bandaged faces and heads.

Another difference in the procedure is that some Jews are handed receipts for their confiscated objects but some were refused these because it did not suit the relevant SA men. Whether such a receipt actually means anything is anyone’s guess.

In Hietzing (Vienna XIII.) for sure school youths between twelve and 14 years of age were allowed to leave the school at 10 o’clock in the morning with instructions to wreck Jewish homes and shops. Much vigorous use was made of that because many homes were smashed to pieces.

As long as those arrested were in the hands of the SA or the SS, things went very badly for them. Those who have been released from arrest naturally did not dare to recount anything about it. It certainly went better for those in the hands of the police, indeed the older policemen behaved extremely well. A struggle broke out everywhere, particularly in the Ostmark, but it appears that the Party units had the upper hand. In many cases those arrested were transported between different police prisons, and it was hardly possible to establish where they found themselves. Distributing information about it was absolutely born out of the feeling of sadism because wives were already given the information in the morning that their arrested husbands had been brought to Dachau, and it was possible these men would appear at home again in the afternoon.

Up to the present day the location of many of those imprisoned is not yet known. As already mentioned the hospitals are said to be overfull, especially the Rothschild-Spital, but of course there was no precise information to obtain about this.

For those arrested it was an advantage when preparations for departure had already been made. In many cases these people were actually released again. But this is in no way routine, in many cases this had not helped at all, especially when the people could not be found.

It is noteworthy that in the view of the Gildemeester-Aktion none of those arrested came to Dachau and also not to Buchenwald because these concentration camps were overfull, all the more so because Ostmärker were sent to other camps in the Ostmark. But this is not certain, as I first learned of it on the day that I went away. In many cases people had to sign a declaration of a fixed date for their departure. But in any case everybody had to sign a declaration not to speak about the things they experienced, and actually it was possible to learn something from very few of those released again.

In Vienna's Central Cemetery the New Hall, about which much had been said because it was a magnificent building in its day, has been totally destroyed. One cannot go through it any more because one fears being struck by masonry. Similarly the Old Hall has been destroyed, the roof is propped up with planks. All the synagogues in Vienna have been burned out. In many cases, e.g. at my father’s, a bonfire was organised in front of the home, in which prayer books and other objects were set alight.

The following also happened: one of my uncles was a guest at a doctor friend‘s. First all objects belonging to the doctor were confiscated, jewellery etc., then the doctor was arrested. Then to my uncle‘s home, took everything away there too, including the wedding rings, and everything that could be found, arrested him, and a few days later it was not known where my uncle was, a man aged 50. He then returned since he already possessed a visa for Shanghai.

Residential provision is especially bad in Vienna. Business people had the keys to their businesses taken away by the Party. In many cases the homes of Jews had to be vacated within a few hours, the value of the home was assessed and bought from the occupants there and then. In one case a well- decorated three-room flat was valued at RM. 280.- and "purchased". Most recently the police have intervened against that. They instructed the caretaker in such cases to notify the police of such proceedings at once.

At the Emmerich border to the Netherlands (German side) they took a typewriter from me, a gold signet ring, a gold chain and a gold watch. This was my own fault, however, since I had neglected to register these objects in Vienna at the Devisenstelle and obtain an Ausfuhrsteuergenehmigung. I was given a receipt for the retained objects in Emmerich and I was entitled to nominate a Verfügungsberechtiger in Vienna. Success is definitely doubtful.

Maximilian Loewy, brother-in-law of Oskar Hirschfeld, Vienna

Vienna Address: Biberstr. 4, Vienna I. Now New York, Broadway 73 Str., Hotel Ansonja


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