The Pogrom Night in Solingen

In the Pogrom Night from November 9 to 10, 1938, an SA troop first stormed the synagogue. Another group of high-ranking party officials, members of the city administration, and representatives of the business community joined in and brought sawdust as tinder. The men devastated the interior and set the wooden furnishings on fire with gasoline. The fire department only protected the neighboring houses from the flames. Even the police did not intervene. 

After midnight, four members of the NSDAP invaded the apartment of Max Leven, a former cultural critic of the newspaper Bergische Arbeiterstimme. They devastated the apartment and threatened Leven and his wife. Armin Ritter, janitor of the neighboring AOK insurance company, finally pulled out a pistol and shot the bedridden Max Leven in the head. Afterwards, the men left the completely distraught wife Emmy alone with the dying man. 

That night, members of the SA, the SS, and the NSDAP demolished apartments and stores throughout the city, including those of baptized Jews and those who lived in “mixed marriages” with Christian partners. In the following night, the chapel in the Jewish cemetery was destroyed. The press reported on thirty-two Jews from Solingen who were taken into “protective custody” on November 10. Twenty men are known by name. They were locked up in the cellars of the townhouse on Potsdamer Strasse. On November 17, eleven of them were deported to the Dachau concentration camp near Munich. 

Left: The funeral register with the entry for the communist Max Leven, who had meanwhile left the synagogue community and rejoined in the mid-1930s, with the remark “His life was an aberration; the hardship led him back to his community” was acknowledged. Above it is the note: “The mortuary was destroyed!!!”. Source: City Archive Solingen, Ve 44-2

Right: Max Leven with his daughter Hanna, son Heinz, a befriended girl, daughter Anita and wife Emmi. Source: City Archive Solingen, RS 9298

Timeline Solingen

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