Tuesday, October 14, 2008


“Kristallnacht,” or “Night of the Broken Glass,” took place on the night of November 9, 1938. Terror attacks were made on Jewish businesses and property as bands of Nazis looted and destroyed seven and a half thousand Jewish shops, claiming the attacks were the public’s reaction to the murder of Ernst von Rath, Third Secretary of the German Embassy of Paris, by a Polish Jew.

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year old German Jew enraged by his family's expulsion from Germany, walked into the German Embassy in Paris and fired five shots at the junior diplomat. Two days later, he died and Germany was in the grip of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence. In the early hours of November 10, coordinated destruction broke out in cities, towns and villages throughout the Third Reich.

The consequences of this violence were disastrous for the Jews of the Third Reich. In a single night, Kristallnacht saw the destruction of more than 200 Synagogues, and the ransacking of tens of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes. It marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who could trace their ancestry in Germany to Roman times, and served as a prelude to the Holocaust that was to follow.

On a single night, 92 Jews were murdered, and 25,000–30,000 were arrested and deported to concentration camps.

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