On November 7, 1938, 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan shot the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris. With this action he wanted to protest against the persecution of the German Jews. Two days later Rath succumbed to his injuries. Thereupon, the Reich minister for propaganda Joseph Goebbels initiated a pogrom (»The Night of Broken Glass«) throughout the Reich on the night from November 9 to 10, 1938.
In Vienna, in the course of the pogrom, which here lasted for several days, 42 synagogues and prayer houses were set on fire and devastated. Thousands of Jewish businesses and apartments, if they had not been Aryanized already in the previous months, were looted, destroyed, and confiscated. 6547 Viennese Jews were arrested, nearly 4000 of them were taken to the Dachau concentration camp.
The assassination and the pogrom ordered by state- and party leaders provided the NS-rulers with a welcome opportunity to carry out and legitimize the total exclusion of the Jews from the German economy. On November 12, 1938, the Ordinance on the Elimination of Jews from the German Economy was issued: from now on Jews were prohibited from operating an independent commercial business or trade. In the same session an »Atonement Tax« of one billion RM for the Paris assassination was imposed on Germany's Jewish population as well as the obligation to compensate for all damages caused during the pogrom.
In sum, the November pogrom with its massive deportations to concentration camps and acts of violence meant a further dramatic escalation of the anti-Jewish policy of the NS-regime.