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The Southern Jewish weekly. [volume] (Jacksonville, Fla.) 1939-1992, August 22, 1941, Image 2

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn78000090/1941-08-22/ed-1/seq-2/

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Page Two
He Started a Pogram
What Kind Os A Bov Was The Real Herschyl Grynszpan?
By EDWARD GRUSD
On a dark day in November, 1938, a 17-year-old Jewish boy,
his eyes blazing insanely, rushed into the German Embassy in Paris,
and fired a revolver at the first Nazi official he saw. It happened
to be Ernst von Rath, the third
secretary of the Embassy, who
was killed. A day or two later,
the Nazis in Germany drummed
up the worst pogrom in modern
Jewish history, using this assassi
nation as the excuse.
The assassin, Herschyl Grynsz
pan, immediately gave himself up
to the police, but his trial was
postponed so many times that the
Nazi armies captured Paris before
it was held. In great glee, they
shipped Grynszpan back to Ger
many, and recently their plans to
use him in another anti-Semitic
spectacle were exposed. The idea
was to stage a much-publicized
trial, in Berlin, during the course
of which young Grynszpan, after
being tortured gruesomely, was to
“confess” that he acted as the
agent of “world Jewry.” But
since this scheme has been expos
ed, it has probably been abandon
ed.
Who was this Herschyl Grensz
pon? Was he a bad boy from the
beginning? What were his par
ents like? Despite the news stor
ies about him four years ago, little
has been known of him until now,
because he was kept closely
guarded in prison, and his parents
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were “lost” in the miserable
ghetto in Poland to which the
Nazis had consigned them.
But three young people who
knew Herschyl almost from birth,
who lived on the same street in
Hanover, Germany, with him, who
were his constant playmates, are
now in this country, and they have
at last filled in the picture from
first-hand knowledge. They were
interviewed, and their exclusive
story appears in the September
issue of the National Jewish
Monthly, published b y B’nai
B’rith. Their names cannot be
given because they still have rel
atives in Germany.
"We all lived on Burg Strasse,
in Hanover,” their spokesman ex
plained. “Herschyl lived in the
same house in which he had been
born. His parents, devoutly relig
ious, were well off and highly re
spected in the community. Mr.
Grynszpan had an excellent tailor
ing firm that prospered from the
day he came to Germany from
his native Poland.”
The spokesman then told how
she and her brothers had played
the usual childish games with
Herschyl and his brother and sis
ter. They were healthy, normal
children.
“In school Herschyl was an av
erage student,” she said, “showing
no particular., aptitude for any
phase of study. Perhaps he was
resigned to his father’s wish that
he become a rabbi. Mr. Grynsz
pan, like my father and other Po
lish Jewish parents, was a devout
Jew who followed the precepts of
the law to the letter.”
Herschyl, she continued, was a
mischievous lad in cheder, but
his Bar Mitzvah was a great oc
casion; his father invited all the
Jews in the neighborhood, and
Herschyl did his parents proud
with an original oration that won
praise from the rabbis. Herschyl
loved his parents deeply, and gave
them constant joy. For ten years
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THE SOUTHERN JEWISH WEEKLY
Photos Courtesy The National Jewish Monthly
Herschyl Grynszpan, taken to a Paris police station after
shooting Ernst von Rath, hides his face from the photog
rapher. Inset, Grynszpan, dazed and repentant, immediately
after his arrest.
he sang in the choir of Hanover’s
large synagogue. He was a Co
hen, and took pride in blessing
the congregation on the holidays.
But when his father sent him to
a rabbinical seminary in Frank
fort at the age of 15, he did not
remain there long. He did not
want to become a rabbi.
Conditions were meanwhile
growing steadily worse for the
Jews in Germany. To save his
son from them; Mr. Grynszpan
sent Herschyl to Paris to live
there with his aunt and uncle. In
September, 1938, the Nazis ex
iled Hanover’s Polish-born Jews to
the Polish town of Zbaszyu, just
over the border. The Grynszpans
were among them.
It was some time before Her
schyl, in Paris, found this out.
When he learned that his beloved
parents and brother and sister
were starving in a squalid hut in
Poland, his world crashed about
him. He lost his head completely.
“We were not settled long in
our new quarters when we heard
the startling news of Herschyl’s
act,” said his friend who, with
her family, lived near the Grynsz
pans in Zbaszyu. “The camp was
thrown into an uproar. Our par
ents immediately rushed to the
Grynszpan home to console the
elder Grynszpans while the young
er members of our camp prepared
for a visit from the Nazis. We
knew they would be after the
Grynszpans, and border violations
were not new to them.
“We were not long in waiting.
That very night a band of Gestapo
agents stormed over the Polish
border and made their way to the
Grynszpan residence. Our self
appointed army, hurriedly armed
with rocks, clubs, and knives, sur
rounded the house and convinced
the raiding forces they would nev
er leave with their victims. It was
a slinking group of men that
made their way back to Germany
empty-handed.”
Today, nobody knows what has
become of either Herschyl or his
parents.
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Test Your I. Q.
By DAVID B. FEINBFRG
1) What Egyptian ruler chang
ed the name of a Jewish king?
2) What Babylonian king
changed the name of a Jewish
king?
3) When did the Jews have a
navy ?
4) What were the furnishings
of a guest room in biblical times?
5) prophesied that lions
will eat straw?
6) What did King Solomon im
port from Egypt?
7) Does the Bible condemn
corporeal punishment for child
ren?
8) Whom did the Babylonians
appoint as the Jewish governor of
Judah?
9) W’ho was Dorothea Mend
elssohn ?
10) What English man of let
ters was a devoted follower of
Moses Mendelssohn’s philosophy?
(Answers on Page Seven)
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