Roosevelt’s failure to take any action against Germany, or to mobilize an international coalition to challenge Hitler, sent the message that the world would not intervene to save the Jews. This reinforced Hitler’s conviction that Jews were sub-human and could be exterminated without fear of opposition or retribution.
Kristallnacht: When America Failed the Jews
On November 11, 1938, a front-page story appeared in The New York Times. It read: “A wave of destruction, looting, and incendiarism unparalleled in Germany since the Thirty Years War and in Europe generally since the Bolshevist Revolution swept over Great Germany today as National Socialist cohorts took vengeance on Jewish shops, offices and synagogues for the murder by a young Polish Jew of Ernst vom Rath, third secretary of the German Embassy in Paris.”
Another Times story was headlined, “All Vienna’s Synagogues Attacked.”
These stories refer to Kristallnacht, the rampant violence on November 9-10, 1938, when Nazi storm troopers throughout Germany and Austria ransacked Jewish homes; broke the windows of Jewish-owned stores and looted their merchandise; set fire to synagogues; randomly attacked Jewish men, women and children; and arrested thousands of men.
When the violence ended, at least 96 Jews were dead, 1,300 synagogues and 7,500 businesses were destroyed, and countless Jewish cemeteries and schools were vandalized. A total of 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps. The broken glass strewn through the streets from the mayhem led the pogrom to be called “Crystal Night”– or Kristallnacht.