Kristallnacht is the German word for ‘the night of crystal’ which refers to the anti-Jewish pogrom which took place on November 9th and 10th 1938 throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Kristallnacht was instigated primarily by the Nazi Party officials, members of the SA (storm troopers) and the Hitler Youth. It gained its name from the shattered glass that lined the German streets that had come from Jewish shops and synagogues which had been destroyed in the violence. The reason for Kristallnacht was announced by German officials as being a spontaneous outburst of public sentiment in response to the assassination of Ernst Vom Rath who was a German Embassy Official in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish Jew, had shot Vom Rath on Nov. 7th 1938 in reaction to German authorities expelling 17,000 Polish Jews from the Reich, which included his parents. Vom Rath died on Nov. 8th, which coincided with the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. Joseph Goebbels, a chief instigator of this pogrom said to fellow Nazi officials that ‘World Jewry had conspired to commit the assassination’ and that the ‘Fuhrer had decided that demonstrations should not be prepared or organised by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.’ Violence began to erupt throughout the Reich. At 1.20am on Nov. 10th, Reinhard Heydrich (Head of Security Police, or Sicherheitspolizel) sent an urgent telegram to headquarters and stations of the State Police and the SA leaders which contained directions concerning the riots. The SA and Hitler Youth units across Germany and its neighbouring territories engaged in the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. They even wore civilian clothes to support the idea that this violence was an act of ‘public outrage’
Rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany and Austria. Many burned throughout the night in view of local fire-fighters who had received instructions not to intervene...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document