Kristallnacht: On 76th anniversary, world recalls Night of Broken Glass

Black-and-white photo of Jewish synagogue burning with black smoke surrounding top of building

A synagogue burning on Kristallnacht. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9: The sound of broken glass still echoes around the world on November 9, as communities around the world remember the tragic events that took place in 1938 known as Kristallnacht.

Literally “Crystal Night” and often translated as “The Night of Broken Glass,” Kristallnacht marked a public turning point in the Nazi regime. These attacks on Jewish neighbors, businesses and houses of worship shocked the world. The Nazi regime’s intentions could no longer be denied. The 1,400 synagogues attacked on Kristallnacht, the 90 Jews murdered that night, and the 30,000 Jews detained for concentration camps foretold of the tragedies to come.

Contrary to some myths about the Holocaust, journalists for major newspapers around the world did report on Kristallnacht. The truth is well documented now in Holocaust histories and major Holocaust museums: news reporting did alert readers worldwide to the danger Nazi campaigns posed to the huge Jewish communities in Europe.

During the 1920s, German Jews had enjoyed rights equal to any other citizen: the right to own a business, to obtain a license and to receive an education. In 1933, however, things began to change with the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. The pre-planned pogrom now known as Kristallnacht was carried out in Nazi Germany and in Austria, Nov. 9-10, in 1938.

Care to read more?

ReadTheSpirit author and columnist Suzy Farbman writes about her commitment to a new play opening in New York this week about the life of famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

And, recently ReadTheSpirit magazine published an in-depth interview with biographer Charles Marsh whose new book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains why this courageous young pastor began protesting Nazi antisemitism in the early 1930s.

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Categories: Anniversary