Der Novemberpogrom

"Amidst a German town – and St. Pölten is such a town, is it not? – arises an oriental building, curly characters ›decorate‹ its facade and a star arches up above the cupola which we can happily spare in our sky. One day when this building stands without meaning and use – and this will happen soon (it is clear that the Ostmark will stand an example) then it will make room for a ›representative‹ building!? If we succeed in cleaning business life in our town from foreigners, then the exterior will have to follow that example." This blatant summons to destroy the St. Pölten Synagogue was published in St. Pölten’s Anzeiger as early as on November 5th, 1938.

The assassination of the German embassy counsellor Ernst vom Rath in Paris by the 17-year-old Jew Herschel Grynszpan on November 7th, 1938 was a welcome cause for Hitler to let loose the»spontaneous people’s rage« against Jewish shops, dwellings, buildings of prayer and people. In the night from November 9th to 10th, 1938 numerous people, probably members of the SA and SS, intruded into the cantor’s house next to the Synagogue, lay fire and broke the windows. 

In the morning of November 10th, an SS-Standartenführer from Krems allegedly arrived to organise the destruction of the Synagogue. Between 300 and 400 people, partly in uniform partly plain-clothed, assembled in front of the building – amongst them were members of the SA, SS, HJ and Reich Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst) as well as pupils from St. Pölten under the guidance of their teachers. On November 16th, 1938 St. Pölten’s Anzeiger reported approvingly that some "bold" people had succeeded in "removing the sign of Judas, the Star of David, the true image of the Red Star from the cupola".

On this morning the interior of the Synagogue was completely destroyed while political songs were sung. Windows were broken, the interior fitting and Torah scrolls were burnt, water pipes, light fitting and doorposts were torn from the walls. Books and documents were thrown onto the streets, soused with petrol and burnt amongst cheers. St. Pölten’s security force reported to the subsection Vienna: »the actions against Jews were positively received by the locals.« Individual onlookers did, however, voice their discomfort: »well, one should let them keep their faith«. 

Of the entire moveable property of the Israelite Religious Community St. Pölten, only "2-3 silver cups, 1 silver hand (Torah pointer) and 2 Torah scrolls remained". The whereabouts of these objects is unresolved. Some holdings of the archive of the Religious Community were moved to the Municipal Archive St. Pölten. The heavily damaged building was secured against trespassing.