Kristallnacht was a Nazi pogrom (violent riot or mob attack) lasting less than 24 hours against the Jews that occurred in November, 1938 in Germany, Austria and Sudetenland. The German Chief of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler's approval announced the beginning of this attack to punish the Jews and force them out of Germany.. The Germans blamed the Jewish people for an early end of WWI in1918 and the economic hardships that followed the war. From late in the evening on November 9th, 1938 through midday on the 10th, synagogues, shops, homes, hospitals and cemeteries were destroyed by German storm troopers, Hitler Youth and mobs of non-Jewish citizens. In addition to many men, women and children being brutalized, more than 100 Jews were killed during Kristallnacht. The Nazis also arrested 10,000s of Jews and put them in concentrations camps. Kristallnacht became known as "The Night of Broken Glass" because the streets were littered with glass from all of the destroyed buildings. Jewish homes and businesses were easily singled out during the attack because they all were marked with the yellow Star of David. Over 8000 buildings were damaged and looted in the riot. The pogrom was especially destructive in Berlin and Vienna, the two largest Jewish communities under German control. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany and Austria. Many synagogues burned throughout the night in full view of the public because local firefighters did nothing. They only prevented German-owned buildings from burning down. It was understood that anyone, Jew or non-Jew, who spoke out against the Kristallnacht was to be beaten and thrown in jail. Kristallnacht lasted less than 24 hours, however, the violence against the Jews had only just begun. 100,000 Jews were arrested and 30,000 of which were thrown into concentration camps. Two thousand of these prisoners which were mostly men aged 16 to 60 died in the camps....
Bibliography: 1. Gilbert, Martin. Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
2. Fitzgerald, Stephanie. Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2008.
3. Schwab, Gerald. The Day the Holocaust Began: The Odyssey of Herschel Grynszpan. New York: Praeger, 1990.
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