Event Page

Kristallnacht—The Night of Broken Glass

(1938)

On the night of November 9, 1938, Nazi Storm Troopers and German citizens launched a massive, government-coordinated attack on Jews throughout Germany. The mobs burned synagogues, destroyed businesses, ransacked Jewish homes, and brutalized the Jewish people. Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass illustrated the radical nature of Nazi policies toward the Jews. From this time forth Jews had no rights in the Third Reich, and those who did not escape, became victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

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Map where Jewish synagogues were vandalized the night of Kristallnacht.
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Fragments of a destroyed synagogue in Lódz Poland. Photo credit: Meczenstwo Walka, Zaglada Zydów Polsce 1939-1945. Poland. No. 335.
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Kristallnacht3.gif
German children watch as a synagogue in Kuppenheim, Baden Germany, burns during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. November 10, 1938. Photo credit: Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.
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During Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, a synagogue burns in Siegen, Germany. November 10, 1938. Photo credit: The Pictorial History of the Holocaust, Yitzhak Arad, Ed., Macmillan Publishing Co., NY, 1990, p. 58, courtesy of Shamash
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Kristallnacht1.gif
Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business that was destroyed during Kristallnacht in Berlin, Germany. Photo from the National Archives
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Kristallnacht5.gif
Czestochowa. Jewish cemetery devastated by the Nazis. Photo credit: Meczenstwo Walka, Zaglada Aydów w Polsce 1939-1945. Poland. No. 348.
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The Braunkohle Benzin A.G., Nazi Synthetic Oil Plant At Magdeburg / Rothensee, Germany, Has Been Knocked Out Of Production By Us 8Th Af Attacks Earlier This Month As Reconnaissance Pictures Show. The Damage, Which Is Severe, Is Distributed Over The Entir
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Painted On A Mannheim, Germany Wall By Nazi Propagandists, This Shadowy Figure Warns German Civilians To "Watch Out, The Enemy Is Listening." A Yank Solider Casts A Shadow Of His Own, As He Scrutinizes This Symbol Of The Unceasing Vigilence American Soli
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The Vital Nazi Oil Refineries At Politz, Germany Were Hit By Formations Of Heavy Bombers Of The 8Th Air Force On June 20, 1944. A Large Cloud Of Oily Black Smoke Curls Its Way Heavenward As The Effect Of The Unleashing Of The Lethal Load Is Felt On The T
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Aerial View Of The Bomb Damaged Nazi Airfield At Lachen/ Speyerdorf, Germany. 8 May 1945.
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Looking Like An On-Rushing Tornado, A Huge Column Of Smoke Looms Above The Synthetic Oil Plant At Politz, Germany, Second Largest Nazi Controlled Plant Of Its Kind. 29 May 1944.
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Holocaust2.jpg
"Bones of anti-Nazi German women still are in the crematoriums in the German concentration camp at Weimar, Germany, taken by the 3rd U.S. Army. Prisoners of all nationalities were tortured and killed." Pfc. W. Chichersky, April 14, 1945. 111-SC- 2034
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Wreckages Of German Field Pieces In The Foreground Accentuates Heavy Damage Dealt The Naumberg, Germany, Ordnance Depot By 9Th Af Douglas A-26 Invaders And A-20 Havocs During The Final Stages Of The War In Europe. The Depot Once Supplied Nazi Forces In C
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High Above Dense Carpet Of Clouds, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses Of The 452Nd Bomb Group Head For Their Bomb Runs Over Brunswick, Germany, 9 March 1944. Heavies Of The 8Th Af Struck Deeper And Deeper Into Nazi Territory Paralyzing Supply Lines And Vital
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Bomb Damage To Nazi Rally Grounds At Nuremburg, Germany.
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The Nazi Repair And Equipment Airdrome At Werl, Germany Is Plastered With Bomb Bursts As Planes Of The 94Th Bombardment Group, 8Th Af, Carry Out Their Mission On 19 April 1944.
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Burning Nazi Airdrome -- At The Rotenburg Aircraft Depot In Germany, Consolidated B-24 Liberators Of The Us 8Th Aaf Set The Stage For This Picture With Their Concentrated Attack On 30 May 44. Many Large Workshops Were Set Afire.
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England - The Crew Of A Boeing B-17 Looks At A Badly Damaged Right Horizontal Stabilizer, Practically Shot Off When Nazi Fighters Broke Through To Their Formation During An 8Th A.F. Bombing Attack Upon Nienhagen And Hildensheim, Germany. Despite The Dama
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Consolidated B-24 Liberators Of The 2Nd Bomb Division, 8Th Af, Enroute To Bomb Nazi Installations At Brunswick, Germany, 24 November 1944.
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What The Nazis See! A Large Formation Of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses Enroute To Bomb Nazi Installations At Frankfurt, Germany. 8Th Air Force Bombers Continualy Blasted Vitally Important War Objectives To Hasten The End Of The War In The Eto. 20 March
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Bomb Damage To Nazi Factory Along Hamburg Harbor, Germany.
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Hamburg Germany -- Namesake Of Robert Ley, The Nazi Labor Camp Front Leader Now A Prisoner Of The Allied Armies, Is The 28,000-Ton Liner Built In 1938 For The 'Strength Through Joy' Movement Cruises. It Was Gutted By Fire As A Result Of One Of The Attack
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Before And After: A Nazi Oil Refinery -- Dropping 5,954,000 Pounds Of Bombs In 13 Daylight Attacks, 1,246 Us Army 8Th Af Heavy Bombers Destroyed The Braunkohle Benzin A.G. At Rothensee, A Suburb Of Magdeburg, Germany. Approx. 36,000,000 Pounds Of Gasolin
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The Nazi Air Ministry From Which Goering Controlled The Luftwaffe, Is Now Only A Block-Ling Scene Of Devastated Buildings. A Russian Solider Converses With Sgt. Larry Barbier In This Sector Of The Reich. Berlin, Germany.
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Bombs, Dropped From Allied Planes, Spell Doom For Nazi Installations At Quackenbruck, Germany. 17 April 1944.
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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses Of The 452Nd Bomb Group Wing Their Way Over The German Countryside Enroute To Regensburg, Germany, As The Heavy Bombers Continued Their Daily Pounding Of Nazi Military Installations. 25 Feb. 1944. Taken By S/Sgt. F. Ferreri
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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses Of The 91St Bomb Group Approach Their Target At Osnabruck, Germany, For Another Destructive Raid On Nazi Installations On 22 Dec. 1943.
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20Mm Shells From Nazi Fighter Planes Ripped Out The Tail Section Of This Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" During Mission To Wiener Neustadt, Germany, On 10 May 1944. Italy. Left To Right: 2Nd Lt. Clyde Bennett, Okland, Ore., Co-Pilot 1St Lt. Glenn A. Reyno
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Forts Blast Nazi Airdrome -- While Consolidated B-24 Liberators Were Paying Their Lethal Respects To Friedrichshafen, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses Of The Us 8Th Af Were Hammering The Lechfeld Airdrome In Southwestern Germany During Saturday'S Daylight Op
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With A Background Of Feathery Vapor Trails Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" Of The 452Nd Bomb Group Droned Steadily Over Germany Territory Enroute To Their Target, Gablingen, Germany. 16 March 1944. 8Th Air Force Attacks On Vital Nazi Installations Help

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Causes of Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht was a pentup result of Nazi antisemitic policies, but Hitler and Goering had to wait for the right opportunity to strike at the Jewish people without causing ill-sentiment among the citizenry. On October 27, 1938, over 17,000 Jews of Polish ancestry who lived in Germany were deported back to Poland. Once the Jews reached the German-Polish border, the Polish government denied them entry. These Jews, who were German citizens, ended up in no-man’s land with few possessions and no food. One family, the Grynszpans, were stuck in this situation and appealed to their son in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan received a devastating letter from his sister explaining the family’s circumstances and begging for help. Herschel responded irrationally, and on November 6, 1938 he went to the German embassy in Paris where he shot and killed Ernst vom Rath, the Secretary of Legation. Herschel proclaimed he killed vom Rath in the name of 12,000 persecuted Jews.

            When the message of Ernst vom Rath’s death reached Hitler and his advisors, Goebbels saw this incident as a chance to incite the German people against the Jews. Hitler and Goebbels agreed to coordinate a plan for the SA storm troopers, also known as brown shirts, to enact vengeance on the Jews for this crime. Instructions were given to the German police and fire departments to not interfere with the demonstrations. So, on the night of November 9, 1938 the storm troopers and German citizens burned and destroyed Jewish synagogues, businesses, and homes. While synagogues burned, fire fighters stood by and watched, only intervening if “Aryan” buildings were put in jeopardy. Kristallnacht changed the face of Nazis policy towards the Jewish population and illustrated to the world the true nature of Nazi ideology. While the Nazis blamed Herschel Grynszpan for inciting the night of violence, the true cause of Kristallnacht was the hate and prejudice of the Nazi regime.

Source: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/triumph/tr-knacht.htm

Added by Clio

Event Details

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Cause of Kristallnacht:
Nazi Ideology: Hitler’s antisemitic policies 1
Damages Reported by SS leader Reinhard Heydrich:
25,000: Jewish men arrested and sent to concentration camps 2
267: Jewish synagogues burned—177 of those totally destroyed 2
7500: Jewish businesses destroyed 2
91: Jews killed 2
Date:
From: 09 Nov 1938 1
To: 10 Nov 1938 1
Event:
Also known as: The Night of Broken Glass 1
Name: Kristallnacht 1
Ernst vom Rath murdered by Herschel Grynszpan:
06 Nov 1938 1
Deportation of about 17,000 Jews to Polish border:
27 Oct 1938 1
Place:
Location: Germany 1

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