Experience: Kristallnacht

Goldie Abt
Charles Adler
Ruth Adler Schnee
Judy Blackman
Ernst Conrad
Fred Findling
Joseph Findling
Sabine Geiringer
Charles Growe
Kurt Kent
Manfred Lehman
Ruth Levi
Anna Lindeman
Martin Lowenberg
Edith Maniker
Gerald Manko
Bessie Mittelman
Jeannette Olson
Norbert Reinstein
Ruth Ross
Julius Schaumberg
Gisela Solomon
Louis Sondheimer
Walter Stark
Charles Strassberg
Alfred Zydower

“("Crystal Night" or "Night of the Broken Glass"). Pogrom (massacre or riot
against Jews) carried out by the Nazis throughout Germany and Austria on
November 9-10, 1938. The name Kristallnacht refers to the glass of the shop
windows smashed by the rioters. Officially, Kristallnacht was launched in
retaliation for the assassination on November 7 of a German embassy official
in Paris - named Ernst vom Rath - by a young Jewish refugee named
Herschel Grynszpan. On November 9 vom Rath died of his injuries.

“That same night, a group of Nazi leaders gathered in Munich to
commemorate the anniversary of Hitler’s (failed) attempt to take over the
Bavarian Government in 1923. The Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph
Goebbels, told the other participants that the time had come to strike at the
Jews. The Nazi leaders then sent instructions to their men all over the country
- they were not supposed to act as if they had launched the pogrom, but were
to participate all the same. Within hours, crazed rioting erupted. The shop
windows of Jewish businesses were smashed, the stores looted, hundreds of
synagogues and Jewish homes were burnt down and many Jews were
physically assaulted. Some 30,000 Jews, many of them wealthy and
prominent members of their communities, were arrested and deported to the
concentration camps at Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald, where
they were subjected to inhumane and brutal treatment and many died. During
the pogrom itself, some 90 Jews were murdered.

“After the pogrom was over, the Nazis continued with severe anti-Jewish
measures. The aryanization process of seizing Jewish property was
intensified; the Jewish community was forced to pay a fine of one billion
reichsmarks, ostensibly as a payback for the death of vom Rath; and the
Germans set up a Central Office for Jewish Emigration (Zenstralstelle fuer
Juedische Auswanderung) to "encourage" the Jews to leave the country.

“Western countries and even the Soviet Union were shocked by the
Kristallnacht pogrom, and some governments began admitting more refugees as a result. However, the Nazis were not deterred, and forged ahead in their
plan to annihilate European Jewry.”

Date accessed July 25, 2011


As the synagogue in Oberramstadt burns during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"), firefighters instead save a nearby house. Local residents watch as the synagogue is destroyed. Oberramstadt, Germany, November 9-10, 1938.


— United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Accessed on July 26, 2011


The Boerneplatz synagogue in flames during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"). Frankfurt am Main, Germany, November 10, 1938.


— Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesit

Accessed on July 26, 2011


Local residents watch the burning of the ceremonial hall at the Jewish cemetery in Graz during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"). Graz, Austria, November 9-10, 1938

Accessed on July 26, 2011



German children, behind an SS man, watch as religious objects from the Zeven synagogue are set on fire during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"). Zeven, Germany, November 10, 1938.


— Leo Baeck Institute

Accessed on July 26, 2011



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