I. Letter to Hugh R. Wilson, American Embassy, Berlin
Stuttgart, Germany, November 12, 1938
Subject: Anti-Semitic Persecution in the Stuttgart Consular District
The Honorable Hugh R. Wilson, American Ambassador, Berlin
I have the honor to report that the Jews of Southwest Germany have suffered vicissitudes during the last three days which would seem unreal to one living in an enlightened country during the twentieth century if one had not actually been a witness of their dreadful experiences, or if one had not had them corroborated by more than one person of undoubted integrity. To the anguish of mind to which the Jews of this consular district have been subjected for some time, and which suddenly became accentuated on the morning and afternoon of the tenth of November, were added the horror of midnight arrests, of hurried departures in a half-dressed state from their homes in the company of police officers, of the wailing of wives and children suddenly left behind, of imprisonment in crowded cells, and the panic of fellow prisoners.
These wholesale arrests were the culmination of a day of suffering on the part of the Jews. The desecration and burning of synagogues started before daylight and should have proved a warning signal of what was to come during the course of the next few hours. At 10:30 A.M. about twenty-five leaders of the Jewish community were arrested by a joint squad of policemen and plain clothes men. The arrested persons ranged from thirty-five to sixty-five years of age and were taken from their community officer (Israelitischer Oberrat) to the police station in two motor vehicles. As the victims passed from the building to the motor cars bystanders cursed and shouted at them.
Other arrests took place in various parts of Stuttgart. While this city was the scene of many anti-Semitic demonstrations during the course of the day, similar events were taking place all over Württemberg and Baden. Jews were attacked here and there. So great had become the panic of the Jewish people in the meantime that, when the consulate opened after Armistice Day, Jews from all sections of Germany thronged into the office until it was overflowing with humanity, begging for an immediate visa or some kind of letter in regard to immigration which might influence the police not to arrest or molest them. Women over sixty years of age pleaded on behalf of husbands imprisoned in some unknown place. American mothers of German sons invoked the sympathy of the Consulate. Jewish fathers and mothers with children in their arms were afraid to return to their homes without some document denoting their intention to immigrate at an early date. Men in whose homes old, rusty revolvers had been found during the last few days cried aloud that they did not dare ever again to return to their places of residence or business. In fact, it was a mass of seething, panic-stricken humanity.