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Pogrom

The Night of Broken Glass and the insurance industry
In the night from 9th to 10th of November 1938, a pogrom against the Jewish population took place across Germany. Nazi propaganda depicted this act of violence as a spontaneous “outburst of public anger,” after the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath was shot in Paris by the 17-year old Pole Herschel Grynszpan. These riots were the peak of the first wave of attacks on Jewish people in Germany and Austria.

More than 1,400 synagogues and prayer rooms were destroyed or damaged and approximately 7,500 shops vandalized. At least 400 people lost their lives in the process. About 30,000 Jewish citizens were deported to concentration camps. In the night of the pogrom, organized antisemitic terror reached a hitherto unknown level.

The path to the complete exclusion of Jews from German society was now clear.
Uhlfelder’s department store damaged during the Night of Broken Glass (“Kristallnacht”) - Stadtarchiv München
Uhlfelder’s department store damaged during the Night of Broken Glass (“Kristallnacht”) - Stadtarchiv München
  • German troups enter Austria: Annexation of Austria.
  • Decree about registration of Jewish assets exceeding a value of 5000 Reichsmark.
  • Occupation of the "Sudetenland" (part of Czechoslovakia).
  • Officially inspired pogrom ("Night of Broken Glass") leads to the arrest or murder of many Jews and the destruction of synagogues and Jewish-owned shops and homes.
  • Collective financial "punishment" of Jews (1 Billion marks) for compensation of damages resulting from the "Night of Broken Glass".
After the pogrom, government agencies enacted a flood of legal decrees to push the plundering of the Jewish population, accelerate their emigration, and further isolate them from society. These decrees were the result of a conference, convened by Hermann Göring, in session on November 12th, 1938 in the Berlin Reich Air Ministry.

Göring had succeeded in establishing himself as the de facto “economy dictator” by 1936. His goal was the mobilization of the economy for war and he intended to appropriate the assets of the Jewish population to that end.

Under Göring’s direction, 100 representatives from the ministerial bureaucracy and security forces discussed the consequences of the pogrom with economic experts. The following measures were the concrete results:

Under the pretext of compensation for the attack on Ernst vom Rath, the entire Jewish community was forced to pay a so-called “reparation” - a general compulsory charge of 1 billion Reichsmark.

With a decree on the “restoration of the streetscape,” the Reich confiscated all property insurance claims of German Jews. This only applied to cases of insurance coverage against damage through inner unrest. All shop owners were obligated to repair all damage their shops had suffered.

The compulsory ‘Aryanization’ of all business enterprises was to be resumed as fast as possible.

These measures were followed by a flood of new discriminatory regulations. Within a few weeks, the regime robbed the Jewish population of a plethora of rights and liberties.
The session on the pogrom was held in the Reich Aviation Ministry on November 12, with Hermann Göring presiding (Schöning Publishers, Lübeck )
The session on the pogrom was held in the Reich Aviation Ministry on November 12, with Hermann Göring presiding (Schöning Publishers, Lübeck )
One of the most powerful politicians in Nazi Germany. Göring held a number of offices, being Reich Minister of Aviation, Reich Marshal of the Army, and Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan, which made him a sort of economic dictator. He was a key figure in the economic despoliation of the Jewish population.
  • Officially inspired pogrom ("Night of Broken Glass") leads to the arrest or murder of many Jews and the destruction of synagogues and Jewish-owned shops and homes.
  • Collective financial "punishment" of Jews (1 Billion marks) for compensation of damages resulting from the "Night of Broken Glass".

On the morning of 12 November 1938 Eduard Hilgard, head of the Reichsgruppe Versicherung (Reich Association of the Insurance Industry) was ordered to take part in a hurriedly-convened meeting at the Berlin Reich Air Ministry. Göring described the pogrom as a "far-reaching economic problem." Eduard Hilgard, in his capacity as highest representative of the private-sector insurance industry, was called to the part of the conference that dealt with the issue of insurance liability for the material damage of the pogrom. More exact data, such as reliable loss estimates, were not yet available to Hilgard.

Göring laid down guidelines for the settlement of claims, the most important being:

  • all claims of non-Jewish claimants and Jewish policyholders with foreign citizenship had to be be satisfied,
  • all claims of Jewish claimants with German citizenship were abolished by ministerial order and confiscated by the state.

Following protracted negotiations between the insurers and the ministerial administration, it was only in August 1939 that a final settlement was adopted. Hilgard had succeeded in considerably reducing the government's claims against the insurance sector. To cover the claims of Jewish policyholders for damage incurred in the Pogrom Night, the insurance sector ultimately had to pay a single lump sum of 1.3 million Reichsmarks to the Reich. Claims of foreign policyholders were paid out according to their contracts.

Allianz board member Eduard Hilgard took part in the Aviation Ministry session as head of the Reich Insurance Group
Allianz board member Eduard Hilgard took part in the Aviation Ministry session as head of the Reich Insurance Group
Founded in 1934, the Reich Insurance Group (Reichsgruppe Versicherung) was the central association and umbrella group for Germany's insurance companies. It was headed by Eduard Hilgard, a member of Allianz's board of directors.
One of the most powerful politicians in Nazi Germany. Göring held a number of offices, being Reich Minister of Aviation, Reich Marshal of the Army, and Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan, which made him a sort of economic dictator. He was a key figure in the economic despoliation of the Jewish population.
  • 1921-44 Member of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1933 Vice Chairman of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1933 Chairman of the Reich Private Insurance Association
  • 1934 Head of the Reich Insurance Group
  • 1944 Retired from the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1948-53 Member of the Allianz Board of Supervisors

Anja Rechenberg
Spokesperson Corporate Responsibility

Phone +49 89 3800 4511
Fax +49 89 3800 84511

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