The History Place - World War II in Europe

Orders to the Gestapo regarding Kristallnacht

From Heinrich Müller to all Gestapo offices - transmitted at 11:55 p.m., November 9, 1938:

1) Actions against Jews, especially against their synagogues, will take place throughout the Reich shortly. They are not to be interfered with; however, liaison is to be effected with the Ordnungspolizei to ensure that looting and other significant excesses are suppressed.

2) So far as important archive material exists in synagogues this is to be secured by immediate measures.

3) Preparations are to be made for the arrest of about 20,000 to 30,000 Jews in the Reich. Above all well-to-do Jews are to be selected. Detailed instructions will follow in the course of this night.

4) Should Jews in possession of weapons be encountered in the course of the action, the sharpest measures are to be taken. Verfugungstruppen der SS as well as general SS can be enlisted for all actions. Control of the actions is to be secured in every case through the Gestapo. Looting, larceny etc. is to be prevented in all cases. For securing material, contact is to be established immediately with the responsible SD...leadership. Addendum for Stapo Cologne: In the Cologne synagogue there is especially important material. This is to be secured by the quickest measures in conjunction with SD.

From Reinhard Heydrich to all Gestapo and SD district and subdistrict offices - transmitted at 1:20 a.m., November 10, 1938:

Concerning: measures against Jews in the present night.

On account of the assassination of the Leg. Sec. v. Rath in Paris, demonstrations against the Jews are to be expected throughout the Reich in the present night...

...the political leadership is to be informed that the German police have received the following instructions from the Reichsführer SS and Chief of Police, to which the measures of the political leadership should be adapted, appropriately:

a) Only such measures should be taken as will not endanger German life or property (i.e. synagogue burning only if there is no fire-danger to the surroundings).

b) Businesses and dwellings of Jews should only be destroyed, not plundered. The police are instructed to supervise this regulation and to arrest looters.

c) Special care is to be taken that in business streets non-Jewish businesses are absolutely secured against damage.

d) Foreign nationals - even if they are Jews - should not be molested...

5) Directly after the termination of the events of this night, the employment of the officials deployed [for the demonstrations] permitting, as many Jews - especially the well-off ones - are to be arrested as can be accommodated in the available prison space. Above all only healthy, male Jews, not too old, are to be arrested. Immediately after execution of the arrests contact is to be made with the appropriate concentration camp regarding the quickest committal of the Jews to the camp. Special care is to be taken that the Jews arrested on this order are not maltreated.

6) The content of this order is to be passed on to the responsible inspectors and commanders of the Ordnungspolizei and to the SD-Ober- and Unterabschnitten, with the rider that the Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police has ordered these measures...

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