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The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris Audio Download – Unabridged

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Most people know about the pogram committed by Nazi thugs on the night of November 9-10, 1938, called Kristallnacht. It was a government ordered/sanctioned night of riots and atrocities against the Jews of Germany and Austria. (Austria had recently been absorbed into Germany as a result of the Anschluss.) Most also know about the incident - the shooting of a minor official at the German Embassy by a young Polish/German Jew named Herschel Grynszpan - which began the "Night of Broken Glass". But what happened to Herschel Grynszpan after the assassination? And how are he and his actions viewed in history? Jonathan Kirsch, in his excellent book, "The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan", explains both the before and after.

Herschel Grynszpan was not the first young Jewish man who killed a Nazi official. Two years earlier, in 1936, a medical student named David Frankfurter, murdered a Nazi government official stationed in Davos, Switzerland, at his home. Frankfurter claimed to be avenging his fellow Jews against the actions taken against them in Germany. But there was no response by the German government as there was two years later when Grynszpan murdered Ernst vom Rath. Why? Because the murder of Wilhelm Gustloff happened shortly before the 1936 Winter Olympics, held that year in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the German government didn't want to scare the tourists and the world press who had gathered to compete and cover the Games. (Frankfurter ended up surviving the war by being held in Switzerland for Gustloff's murder.)

Two years later the situation in Germany was different. The Nazis could, and did, use the murder of Rath as a rallying point for a night of death and destruction, which was only a prelude to the horrors of the Final Solution.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has some interesting insights. I have not completed the book but there is something that I found very interesting.

When the law changed, and it became illegal for a Jew to own a gun: the Jew threw his pistol into the river rather hand it in. But there was another alternative - to keep it and hide it.

So why did he throw the gun away rather than hide it?

The explanation, given in the book, is that Jews had always experienced persecution, and rather than fight back, they had always waited it out. One or two people would lose their lives, but the community would survive.

The response to persecution, was to obey the law, rather than to embark on a campaign of lawlessness.

The Nazis, were a party of law and order, and they restored 'law and order' to Germany. But they did so by creating 'lawlessness'.

The other thing is that 'some Nazis', such as Hitler, had a sense of 'Social Darwinism'. The Jews survived and prospered as a people - whereas the best of German youth had been squandered on the battlefield in the First World War. This was a new idea. That the task for the German people was to kill all Jews, particularly women and children.
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