80 Years Nazi Seizure of Power – 75 Years November Pogroms – 70 Years Rosenstraße Protest

Rosenstraße: Film and discussion

November 12, 2013, 6:30pm
Discussion and film-screening at the Goethe-Institut, GoetheForum
812 7th st. NW, Washington, DC 20001 - Directions

Immediately after Adolf Hitler's appointment to chancellor and their accession to power, the National Socialists began to persecute Jewish citizens and political opponents, arresting them in large numbers. One of the peaks of this violence was the so-called "Köpenick Week of Blood" in June 1933, during which the SA detained several hundred persons, many of whom were severely mistreated. Spurred by the national ban on several political parties, members of the Köpenick storm troopers and other units of the SA, SS, and police force began on June 21, 1933, to systematically arrest and abuse political opponents and Jews in Berlin-Köpenick. At least 23 persons were murdered and thrown into the Dahme River or died from complications resulting from their abuse. Among them was the former Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Johannes Stelling, and entrepreneur Georg Eppenstein, one of the first Jewish citizens killed in Berlin.

Public SA terror and "Köpenick Week of Blood" in late June 1933 in Berlin: At the head of the march (from left): Köpenick SA Leader Herbert Gehrke, Gauleiter Joseph Goebbels, Gau Inspector Gerhard Schach, Deputy Gauleiter Artur Görlitzer und head of SA-Untergruppe Berlin-Süd, Werner Schwarz; in the middle of the second row: SA Leader August Wilhelm von Preußen.
Köpenick Week of Blood

Five years later, on the night of November 9/10, 1938, Germany's National Socialist government and Nazi party activists around the country launched a series of coordinated attacks on synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, and Jewish-owned businesses. By November 13, nearly 400 German Jews had been murdered or driven to suicide, and some 30,000 had been arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. Kristallnacht, as the November pogroms have come to be known, marked the shift in Nazi policy from systematic discrimination against Germany's Jews to relentless persecution.

Broken windows at a Jewish-owned business in Magdeburg the morning after Kristallnacht (Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-197-083-42)
Broken windows at a Jewish-owned business in Magdeburg the morning after Kristallnacht (Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-197-083-42)

To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of Kristallnacht – in addition to the eightieth anniversary of the Nazi seizure of power and the seventieth anniversary of the Rosenstraße protest – the Goethe-Institut and the German Historical Institute have invited two leading historians of the Third Reich to discuss Margarethe von Trotta's film Rosenstraße and the light it sheds on the Nazi regime's anti-Semitic policies. The Rosenstraße protest was the most important public demonstration against the Nazis' attempt to eradicate German Jewry. During February and March of 1943, "Aryan" women demonstrated outside the building on Berlin's Rosenstraße where their Jewish husband were being held pending deportation.

Stefan Hördler, a research fellow at the German Historical Institute and a specialist on the concentration camp system, will introduce von Trotta's Rosenstraße by reviewing the early Nazi terror, public violence like the "Köpenick Week of Blood" in 1933, and understudied pre-war detention sites that underscored Nazi policy toward German Jews, 1933-1938. Nathan Stolzfus, a professor of history at Florida State University and author of the path-breaking book Resistance of the Heart will comment on the events on Rosenstraße. They will discuss the film with the audience after the screening.

Please register online