Rath, Ernst Eduard vom

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Rath, Ernst Eduard vom, born 03-06-1909 in Frankfurt am Main, the son of a high-ranking public official. He attended a school in Breslau, and then studied law at Bonn, Munich and Königsberg, until 1932, when he joined the Nazi Party  and became a career diplomat. In April 1933 he became a member of the SA , the party paramilitary. In 1935, after a posting in Bucharest, he was posted to the German embassy in Paris.   In November 1938, vom Rath was fatally shot by a 17-year-old Polish Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, who had fled from Germany to France. The reason Grynszpan chose vom Rath as his victim is not known with certainty, although it is known that he was upset over news that his family was being deported from Germany back to Poland. Most accounts of the shooting state that Grynszpan

     did not ask for Rath by name but only asked to speak to a member of the diplomatic staff. Grynszpan, who was immediately arrested and confessed, insisted his motives were to avenge the Jewish people for the actions already taken by the Germans. He had a postcard on him written to his parents that read, “With God’s help. My dear parents, I could not do otherwise, may God forgive me, the heart bleeds when I hear of your tragedy and that of the 12,000 Jews. I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do. Forgive me.”

Rath died of his wounds after two days. The anti-Semitic violence of Kristallnacht  was launched immediately after his death. After the killing there were claims that vom Rath was a homosexual, the French writer Andre Gide,

 author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literatur in 1947. who died age 81, on 19-02-1951 in Paris, himself a homosexual, testified in his personal diaries that vom Rath was well known in the Parisian homosexual community. There were rumours that occasionally he was called “Madame Ambassador” and “Notre Dame de Paris”.., and that Grynszpan was intending to use this claim in his defense at the trial by implying that Rath had seduced him. Joseph Goebbels  (did you know) had been intending to turn the trial into Nazi propaganda about Jewish conspiracy, but the homosexuality accusations threatened to humiliate the Nazis. Goebbels wrote that “Grynszpan has invented the insolent argument that he had a homosexual relationship with… vom Rath. That is, of course, a shameless lie; however it is thought out very cleverly and would, if brought out in the course of a public trial, certainly become the main argument of enemy propaganda.” Whether or not vom Rath was homosexual is not known. His brother Gustav was convicted of homosexual offences and there were allegations that vom Rath was treated for rectal gonorrhoea at the Berlin Institute of Radiology. As a result of the potential embarrassment the trial was indefinitely postponed. Grynszpan’s fate after September 1942 is not known. Since his trial was never actually called off, merely postponed indefinitely, he was probably kept alive in case circumstances changed and a trial became possible. He was still alive in late 1943 or early 1944. His brother Gustav vom Rath, an Oberleutnant was killed in Russia on 19-12-1942, age 25.

    They are buried on the Nordfriedhof of Düsseldorf, close by are the graves of different “famous” WW II personalities, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 271th Volkgrenadier Division, Martin Bieber, Hitler’s Press Chief SS Obergruppenführer, Otto Dietrich , Generalmajor der Fliehger, Kommandeur 7th Flak DivisionAlfred  Erhard the former commander of concentration camp Westerbork, in the Netherlands, SS Obersturmführer, Albert Gemmeker Anna Frank  and her family, father, mother and sister Margo, were integrated in this camp, before leaving to Bergen Belsen, where they died, father Otto Frank survived, he died old age 91, on 19-08-1980,

 remarried in Bazel, Kommandeur der 526th Infanterie Division, Switzerland. Hitler’s favourite architects, Hermann Giesler and Arno Breker Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Fritz Kühne, General der Panzertruppe,  Kommandeur 1st Panzer Division , Walther Nehring and SS Oberrgruppenführer, Höhere SS und Polizei Führer Nord, Fritz Weitzel.. Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop standing at a lectern making a speech at the funeral.

  

Grynszpan’s ultimate fate is unknown but he probably died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The last documentation indicating he was alive, or thought to be alive, was a Foreign Ministry memorandum on 07-12-1942.In 1960, at the request of his parents in Israel, the lower district court in Hanover officially declared Grynszpan deceased, listing his date of death as 8 May 1945.

 

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