Leo’s street during the November Pogrom
This is Leo’s street. It’s a middle class area with a variety of shops. Leo’s father is highly regarded as a master tailor. But the neighbourhood has become disturbed by growing antisemitic harassment. Since 1937 yellow park benches are designated for Jews. More and more Jews feel threatened after the Racial Laws of 1935.
The antisemitic tabloid Der Stürmer is on weekly display on a noticeboard in the street. It poisons the climate and confirms existing hatred against Jews. NSDAP activists have smeared the word “Jew” over the Jewish owned shops to mark them out. The police are not doing anything about it.
In his diary entry Leo talks about the shooting of the German diplomat vom Rath by the Jewish teenager Herschel Grynszpan in Paris. Disbelievingly, he observes how the Nazis put the blame for the deed on all Jews. The press and the radio brim with vengeful propaganda against Jews. He can sense the danger and the growing fear around him and is frightened.
During the night SA, the Hitler Youth have smashed the Jewish shops in Leo’s street. Some ordinary citizens have joined in. Leo has not been witness to this, but notes in his diary that the local Synagogue is burning. Later on these events will become known as the November Pogrom.