On the ninth and tenth of November 1938, across the then German Reich, synagogues and Jewish prayer rooms were set on fire, while businesses belonging to Jews and Jewish homes were plundered and ransacked. More than 25,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to the Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.
In Vienna, 42 synagogues and prayer rooms were destroyed in the pogrom. In Innsbruck, SS-men wearing civilian clothing attacked Jews with particular brutality. The head of the community, Richard Berger, and two others, Wilhelm Bauer and Richard Graubart, were killed, and many more were seriously injured. The synagogue was destroyed.
The Jews in Hohenems were spared that concerted wave of pogroms. But by November 11, the mayor, Josef Wolfgang, had already laid claim to the synagogue building, and one week later, he confiscated its contents:—Torah scrolls, their ornaments and many other ritual objects.
After the war, no one in Hohenems seemed to remember what had become of all those things. A few ritual objects that had left Hohenems long before 1938 have resurfaced—in Judaica collections in Basel, Jerusalem and San Francisco, for example. The Torah scrolls are still lost today. next ►