Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin GilbertOn November 7, 1938, a young Jew, enraged by his familys expulsion from Germany, walked into the German embassy in Paris and fired five shots at a junior diplomat. Three days later the diplomat was dead, and Germany was in the grips of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence.
In the early hours of November 10, Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods across Germany, leaving behind them a horrifying trail of terror and destruction. More than a thousand synagogues and many thousands of Jewish shops were destroyed, while thirty thousand Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. This was the moment when deliberately inflamed hatreds ignited nationwide destruction.
With rare insight and acumen, Martin Gilbert, one of the leading historians of our time, examines Kristallnacht -- the Night of Broken Glass -- and describes how the rest of the world reacted in its wake. His narration of that night and day of terror is chilling, vividly conveying its scale and intensity through more than fifty previously unpublished eyewitness testimonies and graphic newspaper accounts of the events as they unfolded. No other attack on Jews during the course of the Second World War was as widely reported by contemporary observers.
Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who traced their origins in Germany to Roman times and was a sinister fore-warning of the Holocaust. By setting the tone for the terrible war to follow, it shaped the second half of the twentieth century and continues to haunt us, almost seventy years later. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, this is an eye-opening study of one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Map: Synagogues Destroyed during Kristallnacht
The German authorities looked on without intervening. Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Estimates of fatalities caused by the attacks have varied. Early reports estimated that 91 Jews had been murdered. Evans estimating suicide deaths.
On November 9—10, , Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht The Night of Broken Glass because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes. The Nazis disguised the organized nature of the pogroms. They described the actions as justifiable and spontaneous responses of the German population to the assassination of a German diplomatic official, Ernst vom Rath. During the pogrom, some 30, Jewish males were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. This wave of violence took place throughout Germany, annexed Austria , and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.
Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November Pogrom(s), was a pogrom By the time the conference took place, more than , Jews had fled Germany and Austria, which had been .. As it was aware that the German public did not support the Kristallnacht, the propaganda ministry directed the.
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German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since , when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. However, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse. Within two years, German businesses were publicly announcing that they no longer serviced Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in September , decreed that only Aryans could be full German citizens. Furthermore, it became illegal for Aryans and Jews to marry or have extramarital intercourse. Despite the repressive nature of these policies, through most of , the harassment of Jews was primarily nonviolent.
Zeven was one small town among thousands of towns and cities in Germany where Jewish-owned property was destroyed and Jewish people were attacked and humiliated during Kristallnacht. One of the larger cities where the Kristallnacht riots took place was Baden-Baden. Dots represent cities where synagogues were destroyed. Because of map scale, not all cities affected by Kristallnacht can be shown or labeled. As you can see from this map, Kristallnacht devastated Jewish communities throughout the German Reich.
Eighty years ago, on the night of Nov. Over the following days, adult male Jews were arrested and incarcerated in local jails and makeshift prisons, and some 30, were deported to concentration camps. Hundreds were killed; faced with devastation and total ruin, dozens committed suicide. It was clear that Germans and Austrians of Jewish descent had no future in their own homeland. Some managed to emigrate, abandoning property, family and friends; those left behind would later find themselves deported to the extermination camps in the east. Recounting it like this, in the passive voice, highlights the violence that was perpetrated against Jews. And at this anniversary of such a tragic event, it is right that we remember the victims.