The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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11 April 1933

Report by Alfred Binswanger on his arrest in March 1933

In the run-up to the anti-Jewish boycott on 1 April, a large number of Jews were arbitrarily arrested in Regensburg and held in the Augustenstrasse prison, some for several days. Among them was the factory owner Alfred Binswanger (1860–1933), who was arrested on 30 March .

Almost two weeks later, Alfred Binswanger wrote this report in neat Sütterlin script describing the events. His shock is still palpable: "For all the Jews in Germany, including those in Regensburg, the days between 21 March … and 1 April this year were a truly horrific time." March 21 was the day on which the newly elected Reichstag was inaugurated at an elaborate ceremony in Potsdam. The Enabling Act was passed two days later, laying the foundation for the Nazi dictatorship: it stripped parliament of its power and effectively suspended the constitution.

Binswanger describes the repressive actions taken by the SA in the streets and the futile attempts by Regensburg Jews to demonstrate their patriotism by decking their homes with blue and white Bavarian flags and the black, white and red national colors. According to his report, Jewish citizens were arrested every day, with the total reaching 124. Describing his own arrest, Binswanger writes: "At 4 o‘clock in the afternoon two members of the SA came into the shop and demanded that I go with them." When he asked them what he was being charged with, he was told they had orders to arrest "every member of the race."

Due to his age and poor health, Alfred Binswanger was released the next day. As he writes in his report, he subsequently received "many expressions of sympathy." He concludes his account with the brief comment: "In Augsburg and Munich there were very few arrests."

Franziska Bogdanov

Categorie(s): boycott | businessmen | captivity | Regensburg
Report by Alfred Binswanger on his arrest in March 1933, Regensburg, 11 April 1933 (page 1).
Gift of Danny L. Goldberg