The order for Kristallnacht (1938)

The order for Kristallnacht, contained in this directive from Reinhard Heydrich, was issued in November 1938:

“Message from SS-Grupenfuhrer Heydrich to all State Police Main Offices and Field Offices, November 10th 1938.

Regards: Measures against Jews tonight.

a. Only such measures may be taken which do not jeopardise German life or property (for instance, burning of synagogues only if there is no danger of fires for the neighbourhoods).

b. Business establishments and homes of Jews may be destroyed but not looted. The police have been instructed to supervise the execution of these directives and to arrest looters.

c. In business streets, special care is to be taken that non-Jewish establishments will be safeguarded at all cost against damage.

As soon as the events of this night permit the use of the designated officers, as many Jews, particularly wealthy ones, as the local jails will hold, are to be arrested in all districts. Initially only healthy male Jews, not too old, are to be arrested.

After the arrests have been carried out the appropriate concentration camp is to be contacted immediately with a view to a quick transfer of the Jews to the camps.”

Signed, Reinhard Heydrich