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Kristallnacht Personalities


LEO BAECK (1873-1956)
Rabbi, leader of organized German Jewry during Nazi era. Although realizing that when the Nazis took power, "the thousand year history of German Jewry had come to an end," he refused all offers to escape, insisting that he could flee, "only when he was the last Jew alive in Germany." He was arrested several times and finally sent to Theresienstadt, where he clandestinely taught philosophy and theology. He survived the Holocaust and died in London in 1956.

JOSEF GOEBBELS (1897-1945)
Nazi Minister of Propaganda, who organized the Kristallnacht pogrom, asserting his power and authority in internal Nazi policies.

Commander-in-Chief, Luftwaffe, President of Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and second in authority to Hitler. On November 12, 1938, he convened a conference to deal with the results of Kristallnacht, at which time heavy sanctions were imposed on the Jewish community.

17 year-old Polish Jew, living in France, who shot Ernst vom Rath upon hearing of his family's plight (deported from Germany to no-man's land between Germany and Poland). Grynszpan was arrested, never tried, and later handed over to the Nazis. His eventual fate is uncertain.

Head of Reich Main Security Office, he issued a telegram of instruction to rioters on November 10, 1938. On November 12, he participated in a meeting designed to plan the removal of Jews from German economic life. Later, in 1942, he convened and participated in the Wannsee Conference where the "Final Solution" was adopted.

ERNST VOM RATH (19? -1938)
Diplomat (Third Secretary) in the German legation in Paris. Neither particularly pro-Nazi nor important, his assassination provided the excuse for Kristallnacht.

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