The interior of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht
|Location|| Nazi Germany |
(then including Austria and the Sudetenland)
Free City of Danzig
|Date||9–10 November 1938|
12–13 November (in Danzig)
|Pogrom, looting, arson, mass murder, state terrorism|
|Perpetrators||Sturmabteilung (SA) stormtroopers, German civilians|
|Part of a series on|
Kristallnacht (German pronunciation: [kʁɪsˈtalnaχt] (
Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked as attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers.Rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. British historian Martin Gilbert wrote that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from foreign journalists working in Germany sent shockwaves around the world. The Times of London observed on 11 November 1938: "No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenceless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday."
Estimates of fatalities caused by the attacks have varied. Early reports estimated that 91 Jews had been murdered.Modern analysis of German scholarly sources puts the figure much higher; when deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides are included, the death toll reaches the hundreds, with Richard J. Evans estimating 638 deaths by suicide. Historians view Kristallnacht as a prelude to the Final Solution and the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust.
In the 1920s, most German Jews were fully integrated into German society as German citizens. They served in the German army and navy and contributed to every field of German business, science and culture.Conditions for German Jews began to change after the appointment of Adolf Hitler (the Austrian-born leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party) as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, and the Enabling Act (implemented 23 March 1933) which enabled the assumption of power by Hitler after the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. From its inception, Hitler's régime moved quickly to introduce anti-Jewish policies. Nazi propaganda alienated 500,000 Jews in Germany, who accounted for only 0.86% of the overall population, and framed them as an enemy responsible for Germany's defeat in the First World War and for its subsequent economic disasters, such as the 1920s hyperinflation and Wall Street Crash Great Depression. Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to gain education, including the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933, which forbade Jews to work in the civil service. The subsequent 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of their citizenship and prohibited Jews from marrying non-Jewish Germans.
These laws resulted in the exclusion and alienation of Jews from German social and political life.Many sought asylum abroad; hundreds of thousands emigrated, but as Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1936, "The world seemed to be divided into two parts—those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter." The international Évian Conference on 6 July 1938 addressed the issue of Jewish and Gypsy immigration to other countries. By the time the conference took place, more than 250,000 Jews had fled Germany and Austria, which had been annexed by Germany in March 1938; more than 300,000 German and Austrian Jews continued to seek refuge and asylum from oppression. As the number of Jews and Gypsies wanting to leave increased, the restrictions against them grew, with many countries tightening their rules for admission. By 1938, Germany "had entered a new radical phase in anti-Semitic activity". Some historians believe that the Nazi government had been contemplating a planned outbreak of violence against the Jews and were waiting for an appropriate provocation; there is evidence of this planning dating back to 1937. In a 1997 interview, the German historian Hans Mommsen claimed that a major motive for the pogrom was the desire of the Gauleiters of the NSDAP to seize Jewish property and businesses. Mommsen stated:
The need for money by the party organization stemmed from the fact that Franz Xaver Schwarz, the party treasurer, kept the local and regional organizations of the party short of money. In the fall of 1938, the increased pressure on Jewish property nourished the party's ambition, especially since Hjalmar Schacht had been ousted as Reich minister for economics. This, however, was only one aspect of the origin of the November 1938 pogrom. The Polish government threatened to extradite all Jews who were Polish citizens but would stay in Germany, thus creating a burden of responsibility on the German side. The immediate reaction by the Gestapo was to push the Polish Jews—16,000 persons—over the borderline, but this measure failed due to the stubbornness of the Polish customs officers. The loss of prestige as a result of this abortive operation called for some sort of compensation. Thus, the overreaction to Herschel Grynszpan's attempt against the diplomat Ernst vom Rath came into being and led to the November pogrom. The background of the pogrom was signified by a sharp cleavage of interests between the different agencies of party and state. While the Nazi party was interested in improving its financial strength on the regional and local level by taking over Jewish property, Hermann Göring, in charge of the Four-Year Plan, hoped to acquire access to foreign currency in order to pay for the import of urgently-needed raw material. Heydrich and Himmler were interested in fostering Jewish emigration.
The Zionist leadership in the British Mandate of Palestine wrote in February 1938 that according to "a very reliable private source—one which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the SS leadership", there was "an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom in Germany on a large scale in the near future".
In August 1938, German authorities announced that residence permits for foreigners were being canceled and would have to be renewed.[ citation needed ] This included German-born Jews of foreign citizenship. Poland stated that it would renounce citizenship rights of Polish Jews living abroad for at least five years after the end of October, effectively making them stateless. In the so-called "Polenaktion", more than 12,000 Polish Jews, among them the philosopher and theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and future literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki were expelled from Germany on 28 October 1938, on Hitler's orders. They were ordered to leave their homes in a single night and were allowed only one suitcase per person to carry their belongings. As the Jews were taken away, their remaining possessions were seized as loot both by Nazi authorities and by neighbors.
The deportees were taken from their homes to railway stations and were put on trains to the Polish border, where Polish border guards sent them back into Germany. This stalemate continued for days in the pouring rain, with the Jews marching without food or shelter between the borders. Four thousand were granted entry into Poland, but the remaining 8,000 were forced to stay at the border. They waited there in harsh conditions to be allowed to enter Poland. A British newspaper told its readers that hundreds "are reported to be lying about, penniless and deserted, in little villages along the frontier near where they had been driven out by the Gestapo and left."Conditions in the refugee camps "were so bad that some actually tried to escape back into Germany and were shot", recalled a British woman who was sent to help those who had been expelled.
Among those expelled was the family of Sendel and Riva Grynszpan, Polish Jews who had emigrated to Germany in 1911 and settled in Hanover, Germany. At the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, Sendel Grynszpan recounted the events of their deportation from Hanover on the night of 27 October 1938: "Then they took us in police trucks, in prisoners' lorries, about 20 men in each truck, and they took us to the railway station. The streets were full of people shouting: 'Juden Raus! Auf Nach Palästina!'" ("Jews out, out to Palestine!"). Their seventeen-year-old son Herschel was living in Paris with an uncle. Herschel received a postcard from his family from the Polish border, describing the family's expulsion: "No one told us what was up, but we realized this was going to be the end ... We haven't a penny. Could you send us something?" He received the postcard on 3 November 1938.
On the morning of Monday, 7 November 1938, he purchased a revolver and a box of bullets, then went to the German embassy and asked to see an embassy official. After he was taken to the office of Ernst vom Rath, Grynszpan fired five bullets at Vom Rath, two of which hit him in the abdomen. Vom Rath was a professional diplomat with the Foreign Office who expressed anti-Nazi sympathies, largely based on the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, and was under Gestapo investigation for being politically unreliable.Grynszpan made no attempt to escape the French police and freely confessed to the shooting. In his pocket, he carried a postcard to his parents with the message, "May God forgive me ... I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do." It is widely assumed that the assassination was politically motivated, but historian Hans-Jürgen Döscher says the shooting may have been the result of a homosexual love affair gone wrong. Grynszpan and vom Rath had become intimate after they met in Le Boeuf sur le Toit, which was a popular meeting place for gay men at the time.
The next day, the German government retaliated, barring Jewish children from German state elementary schools, indefinitely suspending Jewish cultural activities, and putting a halt to the publication of Jewish newspapers and magazines, including the three national German Jewish newspapers. A newspaper in Britain described the last move, which cut off the Jewish populace from their leaders, as "intended to disrupt the Jewish community and rob it of the last frail ties which hold it together."Their rights as citizens had been stripped. One of the first legal measures issued was an order by Heinrich Himmler, commander of all German police, forbidding Jews to possess any weapons whatsoever and imposing a penalty of twenty years' confinement in a concentration camp upon every Jew found in possession of a weapon hereafter.
Ernst Vom Rath died of his wounds on 9 November 1938. Word of his death reached Hitler that evening while he was with several key members of the Nazi party at a dinner commemorating the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. After intense discussions, Hitler left the assembly abruptly without giving his usual address. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivered the speech, in his place, and said that "the Führer has decided that... demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered."The chief party judge Walter Buch later stated that the message was clear; with these words, Goebbels had commanded the party leaders to organize a pogrom.
Some leading party officials disagreed with Goebbels' actions, fearing the diplomatic crisis it would provoke. Heinrich Himmler wrote, "I suppose that it is Goebbels's megalomania...and stupidity which is responsible for starting this operation now, in a particularly difficult diplomatic situation." am on 10 November 1938, Reinhard Heydrich sent an urgent secret telegram to the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police; SiPo) and the Sturmabteilung (SA), containing instructions regarding the riots. This included guidelines for the protection of foreigners and non-Jewish businesses and property. Police were instructed not to interfere with the riots unless the guidelines were violated. Police were also instructed to seize Jewish archives from synagogues and community offices, and to arrest and detain "healthy male Jews, who are not too old", for eventual transfer to (labor) concentration camps.The Israeli historian Saul Friedländer believes that Goebbels had personal reasons for wanting to bring about Kristallnacht. Goebbels had recently suffered humiliation for the ineffectiveness of his propaganda campaign during the Sudeten crisis, and was in some disgrace over an affair with a Czech actress, Lída Baarová. Goebbels needed a chance to improve his standing in the eyes of Hitler. At 1:20
Müller, in a message to SA and SS commanders, stated the "most extreme measures" were to be taken against Jewish people.The SA and Hitler Youth shattered the windows of about 7,500 Jewish stores and businesses, hence the appellation Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), and looted their goods. Jewish homes were ransacked all throughout Germany. Although violence against Jews had not been explicitly condoned by the authorities, there were cases of Jews being beaten or assaulted. Following the violence, police departments recorded a large number of suicides and rapes.
The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland.Over 1400 synagogues and prayer rooms, many Jewish cemeteries, more than 7,000 Jewish shops, and 29 department stores were damaged, and in many cases destroyed. More than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps; primarily Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.
The synagogues, some centuries old, were also victims of considerable violence and vandalism, with the tactics the Stormtroops practiced on these and other sacred sites described as "approaching the ghoulish" by the United States Consul in Leipzig. Tombstones were uprooted and graves violated. Fires were lit, and prayer books, scrolls, artwork and philosophy texts were thrown upon them, and precious buildings were either burned or smashed until unrecognizable. Eric Lucas recalls the destruction of the synagogue that a tiny Jewish community had constructed in a small village only twelve years earlier:
It did not take long before the first heavy grey stones came tumbling down, and the children of the village amused themselves as they flung stones into the many colored windows. When the first rays of a cold and pale November sun penetrated the heavy dark clouds, the little synagogue was but a heap of stone, broken glass and smashed-up woodwork.
After this, the Jewish community was fined 1 billion Reichsmarks (equivalent to 4 billion 2009 €). In addition, it cost 40 million marks to repair the windows. The Daily Telegraph correspondent, Hugh Greene, wrote of events in Berlin:
Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the "fun".
Many Berliners were however deeply ashamed of the pogrom, and some took great personal risks to offer help. The son of a US consular official heard the janitor of his block cry: "They must have emptied the insane asylums and penitentiaries to find people who'd do things like that!"
Tucson News TV channel briefly reported on a 2008 remembrance meeting at a local Jewish congregation. According to eyewitness Esther Harris: "They ripped up the belongings, the books, knocked over furniture, shouted obscenities".Historian Gerhard Weinberg is quoted as saying:
Houses of worship burned down, vandalized, in every community in the country where people either participate or watch.
Former German Kaiser Wilhelm II commented "For the first time, I am ashamed to be German."
Göring, who was in favor of expropriating the Jews rather than destroying Jewish property as had happened in the pogrom, complained directly to Sicherheitspolizei Chief Heydrich immediately after the events: "I'd rather you had done in two-hundred Jews than destroy so many valuable assets!" ("Mir wäre lieber gewesen, ihr hättet 200 Juden erschlagen und hättet nicht solche Werte vernichtet!").Göring met with other members of the Nazi leadership on 12 November to plan the next steps after the riot, setting the stage for formal government action. In the transcript of the meeting, Göring said,
I have received a letter written on the Führer's orders requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, coordinated and solved one way or another... I should not want to leave any doubt, gentlemen, as to the aim of today's meeting. We have not come together merely to talk again, but to make decisions, and I implore competent agencies to take all measures for the elimination of the Jew from the German economy, and to submit them to me.
The persecution and economic damage inflicted upon German Jews continued after the pogrom, even as their places of business were ransacked. They were forced to pay Judenvermögensabgabe , a collective fine of one billion marks for the murder of vom Rath (equal to roughly $US 5.5 billion in today's currency), which was levied by the compulsory acquisition of 20% of all Jewish property by the state. Six million Reichsmarks of insurance payments for property damage due to the Jewish community were to be paid to the government instead as "damages to the German Nation".
The number of emigrating Jews surged, as those who were able to left the country. In the ten months following Kristallnacht, more than 115,000 Jews emigrated from the Reich.The majority went to other European countries, the U.S. and Mandatory Palestine, and at least 14,000 made it to Shanghai, China. As part of government policy, the Nazis seized houses, shops, and other property the émigrés left behind. Many of the destroyed remains of Jewish property plundered during Kristallnacht were dumped near Brandenburg. In October 2008, this dumpsite was discovered by Yaron Svoray, an investigative journalist. The site, the size of four Association football fields, contained an extensive array of personal and ceremonial items looted during the riots against Jewish property and places of worship on the night of 9 November 1938. It is believed the goods were brought by rail to the outskirts of the village and dumped on designated land. Among the items found were glass bottles engraved with the Star of David, mezuzot, painted window sills, and the armrests of chairs found in synagogues, in addition to an ornamental swastika.
The reaction of non-Jewish Germans to Kristallnacht was varied. Many spectators gathered on the scenes, most of them in silence. The local fire departments confined themselves to prevent the flames from spreading to neighboring buildings. In Berlin, police Lieutenant Otto Bellgardt barred SA troopers from setting the New Synagogue on fire, earning his superior officer a verbal reprimand from the commissioner.
The British historian Martin Gilbert believes that "many non-Jews resented the round-up",his opinion being supported by German witness Dr. Arthur Flehinger who recalls seeing "people crying while watching from behind their curtains". Rolf Dessauers recalls how a neighbor came forward and restored a portrait of Paul Ehrlich that had been "slashed to ribbons" by the Sturmabteilung. "He wanted it to be known that not all Germans supported Kristallnacht." The extent of the damage done on Kristallnacht was so great that many Germans are said to have expressed their disapproval of it, and to have described it as senseless.
In an article released for publication on the evening of 11 November, Goebbels ascribed the events of Kristallnacht to the "healthy instincts" of the German people. He went on to explain: "The German people are anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race."Less than 24 hours after Kristallnacht, Adolf Hitler made a one-hour long speech in front of a group of journalists where he completely ignored the recent events on everyone's mind. According to Eugene Davidson the reason for this was that Hitler wished to avoid being directly connected to an event that he was aware that many of those present condemned, regardless of Goebbels's unconvincing explanation that Kristallnacht was caused by popular wrath. Goebbels met the foreign press in the afternoon of 11 November and said that the burning of synagogues and damage to Jewish owned property had been "spontaneous manifestations of indignation against the murder of Herr Vom Rath by the young Jew Grynsban [sic]"
In 1938, just after Kristallnacht, the psychologist Michael Müller-Claudius interviewed 41 randomly selected Nazi Party members on their attitudes towards racial persecution. Of the interviewed party-members 63% expressed extreme indignation against it, while only 5% expressed approval of racial persecution, the rest being noncommittal.A study conducted in 1933 had then shown that 33% of Nazi Party members held no racial prejudice while 13% supported persecution. Sarah Ann Gordon sees two possible reasons for this difference. First, by 1938 large numbers of Germans had joined the Nazi Party for pragmatic reasons rather than ideology thus diluting the percentage of rabid antisemites; second, the Kristallnacht could have caused party members to reject antisemitism that had been acceptable to them in abstract terms but which they could not support when they saw it concretely enacted. During the events of Kristallnacht, several Gauleiter and deputy Gauleiters had refused orders to enact the Kristallnacht, and many leaders of the SA and of the Hitler Youth also openly refused party orders, while expressing disgust. Some Nazis helped Jews during the Kristallnacht.
As it was aware that the German public did not support the Kristallnacht, the propaganda ministry directed the German press to portray opponents of racial persecution as disloyal.The press was also under orders to downplay the Kristallnacht, describing general events at the local level only, with prohibition against depictions of individual events. In 1939 this was extended to a prohibition on reporting any anti-Jewish measures.
The U.S. ambassador to Germany reported:
In view of this being a totalitarian state a surprising characteristic of the situation here is the intensity and scope among German citizens of condemnation of the recent happenings against Jews.
To the consternation of the Nazis, the Kristallnacht affected public opinion counter to their desires, the peak of opposition against the Nazi racial policies was reached just then, when according to almost all accounts the vast majority of Germans rejected the violence perpetrated against the Jews.Verbal complaints grew rapidly in numbers, and for example, the Duesseldorf branch of the Gestapo reported a sharp decline in anti-Semitic attitudes among the population.
There are many indications of Protestant and Catholic disapproval of racial persecution; for example, anti-Nazi Protestants adopted the Barmen Declaration in 1934, and the Catholic church had already distributed Pastoral letters critical of Nazi racial ideology, and the Nazi regime expected to encounter organised resistance from it following Kristallnacht.The Catholic leadership however, just as the various Protestant churches, refrained from responding with organised action. While individual Catholics and Protestants took action, the churches as a whole chose silence publicly. Nevertheless, individuals continued to show courage, for example, a Parson paid the medical bills of a Jewish cancer patient and was sentenced to a large fine and several months in prison in 1941, Reformed Church pastor Paul Schneider placed a Nazi sympathizer under church discipline and he was subsequently sent to Buchenwald where he was murdered. A Catholic nun was sentenced to death in 1945 for helping Jews. A Protestant parson spoke out in 1943 and was sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died after a few days.
Martin Sasse, Nazi Party member and bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, leading member of the Nazi German Christians, one of the schismatic factions of German Protestantism, published a compendium of Martin Luther's writings shortly after the Kristallnacht; Sasse "applauded the burning of the synagogues" and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, "On 10 November 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany." The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words "of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews."Diarmaid MacCulloch argued that Luther's 1543 pamphlet, On the Jews and Their Lies was a "blueprint" for the Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht sparked international outrage. According to Volker Ullrich, "...a line had been crossed: Germany had left the community of civilised nations."It discredited pro-Nazi movements in Europe and North America, leading to an eventual decline in their support. Many newspapers condemned Kristallnacht, with some of them comparing it to the murderous pogroms incited by Imperial Russia during the 1880s. The United States recalled its ambassador (but it did not break off diplomatic relations) while other governments severed diplomatic relations with Germany in protest. The British government approved the Kindertransport program for refugee children. As such, Kristallnacht also marked a turning point in relations between Nazi Germany and the rest of the world. The brutality of the pogrom, and the Nazi government's deliberate policy of encouraging the violence once it had begun, laid bare the repressive nature and widespread anti-Semitism entrenched in Germany. World opinion thus turned sharply against the Nazi regime, with some politicians calling for war. The private protest against the Germans following Kristallnacht was held on 6 December 1938. William Cooper, an Aboriginal Australian, led a delegation of the Australian Aboriginal League on a march through Melbourne to the German Consulate to deliver a petition which condemned the "cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany". German officials refused to accept the tendered document.
After the Kristallnacht, Salvador Allende, Gabriel González Videla, Marmaduke Grove, Florencio Durán and other members of the Congress of Chile sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler denouncing the persecution of Jews.A more personal response, in 1939, was the oratorio A Child of Our Time by the English composer Michael Tippett.
Kristallnacht changed the nature of the Nazi persecution of Jews from economic, political, and social to physical with beatings, incarceration, and murder; the event is often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust. In this view, it is described not only as a pogrom but also a critical stage within a process where each step becomes the seed of the next.An account cited that Hitler's green light for Kristallnacht was made with the belief that it would help him realize his ambition of getting rid of the Jews in Germany. Prior to this large-scale and organized violence against the Jews, the Nazi's primary objective was to eject them from Germany, leaving their wealth behind. In the words of historian Max Rein in 1988, "Kristallnacht came...and everything was changed."
While November 1938 predated the overt articulation of "the Final Solution", it foreshadowed the genocide to come. Around the time of Kristallnacht, the SS newspaper Das Schwarze Korps called for a "destruction by swords and flames." At a conference on the day after the pogrom, Hermann Göring said: "The Jewish problem will reach its solution if, in anytime soon, we will be drawn into war beyond our border—then it is obvious that we will have to manage a final account with the Jews."
Kristallnacht was also instrumental in changing global opinion. In the United States, for instance, it was this specific incident that came to symbolize Nazism and was the reason the Nazis became associated with evil.
Many decades later, association with the Kristallnacht anniversary was cited as the main reason against choosing 9 November (Schicksalstag), the day the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, as the new German national holiday; a different day was chosen (3 October 1990, German reunification).[ citation needed ]
The avant-garde guitarist Gary Lucas's 1988 composition "Verklärte Kristallnacht", which juxtaposes what would become the Israeli national anthem ten years after Kristallnacht, "Hatikvah", with phrases from the German national anthem "Deutschland Über Alles" amid wild electronic shrieks and noise, is intended to be a sonic representation of the horrors of Kristallnacht. It was premiered at the 1988 Berlin Jazz Festival and received rave reviews. (The title is a reference to Arnold Schoenberg's 1899 work "Verklärte Nacht" that presaged his pioneering work on atonal music; Schoenberg was an Austrian Jew who would move to the United States to escape the Nazis).
In 1989, Al Gore, then a senator from Tennessee and later Vice President of the United States, wrote of an "ecological Kristallnacht" in the New York Times. He opined that events then taking place, such as deforestation and ozone depletion, prefigured a greater environmental catastrophe in the way Kristallnacht prefigured the Holocaust.
Kristallnacht was the inspiration for the 1993 album Kristallnacht by the composer John Zorn. The German power metal band Masterplan's debut album, Masterplan (2003), features an anti-Nazi song entitled "Crystal Night" as the fourth track. The German band BAP published a song titled "Kristallnaach" in their Cologne dialect, dealing with the emotions engendered by the Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht was the inspiration for the 1988 composition Mayn Yngele by the composer Frederic Rzewski, of which he says: "I began writing this piece in November 1988, on the 50th anniversary of the Kristallnacht ... My piece is a reflection on that vanished part of Jewish tradition which so strongly colors, by its absence, the culture of our time".
Kristallnacht was invoked as a reference point on 16 July 2018 by a former Watergate Prosecutor, Jill Wine-Banks, during an MSNBC segment. Her argument was that President Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a performance that would live in infamy much like the attack on Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht has been referenced both explicitly and implicitly in countless cases of vandalism of Jewish property including the toppling of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis, Missouri,and the two 2017 vandalisms of the New England Holocaust Memorial, as the memorial's founder Steve Ross discusses in his book, From Broken Glass: My Story of Finding Hope in Hitler's Death Camps to Inspire a New Generation. The Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera also used the term to describe the violence in 2019 against Muslims by Sinhalese nationalists.
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler's closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent antisemitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.
Wilhelm Gustloff was the founder of the Swiss NSDAP/AO at Davos. He remained its leader from 1932 until he was assassinated in 1936.
Herschel Feibel Grynszpan was a Polish-Jewish refugee born in Germany. His assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath on 7 November 1938 in Paris was used by the Nazis as a pretext to launch Kristallnacht, the antisemitic pogrom of 9–10 November 1938. Grynszpan was seized by the Gestapo after the Fall of France and brought to Germany; his fate remains unknown. It is generally assumed that he did not survive the Second World War, and he was declared dead in 1960. A photograph of a man resembling Grynszpan was cited in 2016 as evidence to support the claim that he was still alive in Bamberg, Germany, on 3 July 1946. He is the subject of The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan, a book by Jonathan Kirsch and the novel Everyone Has Their Reasons by Joseph Matthews.
David Frankfurter was a Croatian Jew. He is known for having assassinated Swiss branch leader of the German NSDAP Wilhelm Gustloff in February 1936 in Davos, Switzerland.
The history of the Jews in Germany goes back to the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages when Jewish settlers founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community. The community survived under Charlemagne, but suffered during the Crusades. Accusations of well poisoning during the Black Death (1346–53) led to mass slaughter of German Jews and they fled in large numbers to Poland. The Jewish communities of the cities of Mainz, Speyer and Worms became the center of Jewish life during Medieval times. "This was a golden age as area bishops protected the Jews resulting in increased trade and prosperity." The First Crusade began an era of persecution of Jews in Germany. Entire communities, like those of Trier, Worms, Mainz and Cologne, were slaughtered. The war upon the Hussite heretics became the signal for renewed persecution of Jews. The end of the 15th century was a period of religious hatred that ascribed to Jews all possible evils. The atrocities during the Khmelnytsky Uprising committed by Khmelnytskyi's Cossacks drove the Polish Jews back into western Germany. With Napoleon's fall in 1815, growing nationalism resulted in increasing repression. From August to October 1819, pogroms that came to be known as the Hep-Hep riots took place throughout Germany. During this time, many German states stripped Jews of their civil rights. As a result, many German Jews began to emigrate.
Holocaust is a 1978 American four part television miniseries which recounts the trajectory of the Holocaust from the perspectives of the fictional Weiss family of German Jews and that of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos, and later, the use of gas chambers. Although the miniseries won several awards and received positive reviews, it was criticized by others, such as the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who wrote in The New York Times that it was: "Untrue, offensive, cheap: as a TV production, the film is an insult to those who perished and to those who survived."
Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a German diplomat. He is remembered for his assassination in Paris in 1938 by a Polish Jewish teenager, Herschel Grynszpan, which provided a pretext for the Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass".
Wolf-Heinrich Julius Otto Bernhard Fritz Hermann Ferdinand Graf von Helldorff was a German police official and politician, who served as a Member of the Prussian Parliament during the Weimar Republic, as a Member of the Reichstag for the Nazi Party from 1933, and as president of police in Potsdam and Berlin. From 1938, the Graf became associated with the anti-Nazi resistance, and was executed in 1944 for his role in the 20th July plot to overthrow Hitler's regime.
The Fasanenstrasse Synagogue was a liberal Jewish synagogue in Berlin, Germany opened on 26 August 1912. It was located in an affluent neighbourhood of Charlottenburg on Fasanenstrasse off Kurfürstendamm at numbers 79–80, close to the Berlin Stadtbahn and Zoo Station.
The history of the Jews during World War II is almost synonymous with the persecution and murder of Jews which was committed on an unprecedented scale in Europe and European North Africa. The massive scale of the Holocaust which happened during World War II greatly affected the Jewish people and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Final Solution after the war. The genocide, known as HaShoah in Hebrew, aimed at the elimination of the Jewish people on the European continent. It was a broadly organized operation led by Nazi Germany, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty. Although the Holocaust was organized by the highest levels of the Nazi German government, the vast majority of Jews murdered were not German, but were instead residents of countries invaded by the Nazis after 1938. Of the approximately 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, approximately 160,000 to 180,000 were German Jews. During the Holocaust in occupied Poland, more than one million Jews were murdered in gas chambers of the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. The murder of the Jews of Europe affected Jewish communities in Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
Michael Wieck is a German violinist and author. Wieck's memoir, Zeugnis vom Untergang Königsbergs, was published in 1989. In it he relates his and his partly Jewish family's sufferings under the Nazis and, after the German defeat, under the Soviets. This moving story was translated into English in 2003 under the title A Childhood Under Hitler and Stalin: Memoirs of a "Certified Jew,", and in 2004 into Russian as Закат Кёнигсберга. A revised Russian edition was published in 2015.
The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the World War II genocide of the European Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population. The murders were carried out in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through work in concentration camps; and in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz, Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka in occupied Poland.
The Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany began on April 1, 1933, and was claimed to be a defensive reaction to the Jewish boycott of German goods, which had been initiated but quickly abandoned in March 1933. It was largely unsuccessful, as the German population continued to use Jewish businesses, but revealed the intent of the Nazis to undermine the viability of Jews in Germany.
Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany comprised several laws that segregated the Jews from German society and restricted Jewish people's political, legal and civil rights. Major legislative initiatives included a series of restrictive laws passed in 1933, the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and a final wave of legislation preceding Germany's entry into World War II.
Events in the year 1938 in Germany.
During the Holocaust, the Roman Catholic Church played a role in the rescue of hundreds of thousands of Jews from being murdered by the Nazis. Members of the Church, through lobbying of Axis officials, provision of false documents, and the hiding of people in monasteries, convents, schools, among families and the institutions of the Vatican itself, saved hundreds of thousands of Jews. The Israeli diplomat and historian Pinchas Lapide estimated the figure at between 700,000 and 860,000, although the figure is contested.
The following events occurred in November 1938:
Polenaktion was the arrest and expulsion of about 17,000 Polish Jews living in Nazi Germany in October 1938. These deportations, ordered by SS officer and head of the Gestapo Reinhard Heydrich, displaced thousands of Polish Jews along the Germany-Poland border.
In Leipzig, as in other German cities, Jews and Jewish institutions suffered from attacks during the events called Kristallnacht, from November 9–10, 1938. Kristallnacht took its name because of all of the shattered glass from destroyed synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, Jewish-owned homes, schools, and Jewish-owned artifacts. The violence and destruction was carried out by members of the Sturmabteilung (SA), Schutzstaffel (SS), Gestapo, as well as German civilians. German and Nazi officials, along with standard civilians, watched as Jewish property in Leipzig turned to ash. The pogrom affected Jewish men, women, and children in Leipzig and other parts of Germany. There were more foreign-born Jews present in Leipzig than the majority of cities in Germany, and this made conditions for Leipzig Jews worse. Harsh conditions towards Jews in Leipzig began earlier than Kristallnacht because of this, and made Kristallnacht especially harmful. Kristallnacht destroyed much of the Jewish life in Leipzig. The events of Kristallnacht in Leipzig were described by United States Consul David H. Buffum, who reported what he saw to the State Department and published his 16-page report, Anti-semitic Onslaught in Germany as Seen from Leipzig, shortly after the events. A 5-page excerpt from his report was published in the Nuremberg Trial documents and was subsequently quoted at length in several English-language source collections on German history.
During a speech at the Reichstag on 30 January 1939, Adolf Hitler predicted "the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" in the event of another world war. These words, which were similar to comments that Hitler had previously made to foreign politicians in private meetings, came towards the end of a long speech that also dealt with other topics. They were made in the context of Nazi attempts to increase Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany, before the outbreak of World War II.
Kristallnacht, (German: “Crystal Night”), also called Night of Broken Glass or November Pogroms
The November Pogrom also has another name, Kristallnacht, which means “Crystal Night”. This Night of Crystal refers to the Night of Broken Glass...
...vom Rath joined the NSDAP (Nazi party) on July 14, 1932, well before Hitler's ascent to power
A knowing reference to Arnold Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht", the piece ironically juxtaposed the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah," with phrases from "Deutschland Uber Alles," amid wild electronic shrieks and noise. The next day the papers ran a picture of Lucas with the triumphant headline, "It is Lucas!"
Scientists now predect our current course will raise world temperatures five degrees Celsius in our lifetimes
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kristallnacht .|