Heydrich's Instructions, November 1938 Riots of Kristallnacht

Copy of Most Urgent telegram from Munich of November 10, 1938, 1:20 A.M. To:
All Headquarters and Stations of the State Police
All Districts and Sub-districts of the SA
Urgent! For immediate attention of Chief or his deputy!

Re: Measures against Jews tonight

Following the attempt on the life of Secretary of the Legation vom Rath in Paris, demonstrations against the Jews are to be expected in all parts of the Reich in the course of the coming night, November 9/10, 1938. The instructions below are to be applied in dealing with these events:

1. The Chiefs of the State Police, or their deputies, must immediately upon receipt of this telegram contact, by telephone, the political leaders in their areas -- Gauleiter or Kreisleiter -- who have jurisdiction in their districts and arrange a joint meeting with the inspector or commander of the Order Police to discuss the arrangements for the demonstrations. At these discussions the political leaders will be informed that the German Police has received instructions, detailed below, from the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Chief of the German Police, with which the political leadership is requested to coordinate its own measures:

a) Only such measures are to be taken as do not endanger German lives or property (i.e. synagogues are to be burned down only where there is no danger of fire to neighboring buildings).

b) Places of business and apartments belonging to Jews may be destroyed but not looted. The police are instructed to supervise the observance of this order and to arrest looters.

c) In commercial streets particular care is to be taken that non-Jewish businesses are completely protected against damage.

d) Foreign citizens - even if they are Jews - are not to be molested.

2. On the assumption that the guidelines detailed under para. 1 are observed, the demonstrations are not to be prevented by the Police, who are only to supervise the observance of the guidelines.

3. On receipt of this telegram Police will seize all archives to be found in all synagogues and offices of the Jewish communities so as to prevent their destruction during the demonstrations. This refers only to material of historical value, not to contemporary tax records, etc. The archives are to be handed over to the locally responsible officers of the SD.

4. The control of the measures of the Security Police concerning the demonstrations against the Jews is vested in the organs of the State Police, unless inspectors of the Security Police have given their own instructions. Officials of the Criminal Police, members of the SD, of the Reserves and the SS in general may be used to carry out the measures taken by the Security Police.

5. As soon as the course of events during the night permits the release of the officials required, as many Jews in all districts - especially the rich - as can be accommodated in existing prisons are to be arrested. For the time being only healthy male Jews, who are not too old, are to be detained. After the detentions have been carried out the appropriate concentration camps are to be contacted immediately for the prompt accommodation of the Jews in the camps. Special care is to be taken that the Jews arrested in accordance with these instructions are not ill-treated...

Signed Heydrich,
SS Gruppenfuehrer

Telegram 1


This telegram must be Leipzig
closely paraphrased be-
fore being communicated Dated November 10, 1938
to anyone. (br)
Rec'd 8:40 a.m.
Secretary of State
November 10, 11 a.m.

Violent anti-Semetic program pogrom in progress in Leipzig. Three synagogues in flames one next Consulate burning but fire under control. Hundreds of shop windows throughout city smashed no American property or lives molested as yet. Fur district badly damaged.



Telegram 2


This telegram must be Berlin
closely paraphrased be-
fore being communicated Dated November 13, 1938
to anyone. (D)
Rec'd 11:20 a.m.
Secretary of State
614, November 13, 3 p.m.

Stories of violence, ill-treatment, and arrest of Jews during Thursday and Friday come to me hourly. Most of them cannot be confirmed. Last night, however, I was talking with a number of American pressmen and they told me that realizing the gravity of the measures they had reported to their papers only events which had been seen by them personally or by members of their staffs. Certain of the correspondents anticipate trouble with Goebbels but are in a frame of mind almost to welcome it as they are more than ordinarily sure of their facts and seething with indignation.




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