MLC Logo 

Kristallnacht: The Night of Broken Glass
"Beginning systematically in the early morning hours in almost every town and city in the country, the wrecking, looting and burning continued all day. Huge, but mostly silent, crowds looked on and the police confined themselves to regulating traffic and making wholesale arrests of Jews 'for their own protection."
Otto Tolischus, The New York Times, November 10, 1938

A crowd gathers to watch the Boerneplatz Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main burn on November 9, 1938. CL:LBI/NY

Arrest and deportation of male Jews of Zeven to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on November 10, 1938. CL:LBI/NY

Jewish shop in Berlin with shattered windows. CL:Wiener Library. London

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17 year old Polish Jewish student living in Paris, in reprisal for the expulsion of his family from Germany, shot Ernst -vom Rath, a German diplomat. It was a convenient pretext to escalate the campaign against the Jews.

As revenge for vom Rath's murder, Josef Goebbels coordinated a nationwide night of antisemitic terror, subsequently known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). On the night of November 9, 1938, synagogues were burned, Jewish shops looted, Jewish homes vandalized, Jews were beaten and abused. Ninety-one were murdered and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Deportation of male Jews of Berlin to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on November 10, 1938 CL:LBI/NY

"The Fuehrer could really have picked no better man than Heydrich for the campaign against the Jews. For them he was without mercy or pity." Heinrich Himmler, August 25, 1942

Reinhard Heydrich created Nazi anti-Jewish policies. He headed the Gestapo in 1934 and coordinated with Goebbels the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938.

Shortly after Kristallnacht, Jews were totally purged from the German economy. The ultimate Nazi goal, the removal of all Jews from Germany, was now within reach. By early 1939, a mass panic and exodus from Germany began.

The looted interior of the synagogue at Zeven dumped onto the town's main square and later burned. CL.LBI/NY

Panel 10Index to Courage to RememberPanel 12
For Teachers Resource Guide

[Home] [Index] [Courage to Remember] [Glossary of the Holocaust] [Educational Resources] [36 Questions About Holocaust] [Library] [Bookstore]

Copyright © 1997, The Simon Wiesenthal Center
9760 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90035