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What is Kristallnacht and why is it a significant event?

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2017-09-06 02:02:24

Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) was a

government-sponsored outbreak of violence against the Jews in

Germany - a pogrom. It began in the night of 9-10 November 1938 and

lasted for some days.

During this night in November 1938 all German and Austrian

synagogues were ordered burned by Goebbels in retaliation for the

murder of a German by an angry Polish Jew.

Windows of Jewish owned businesses were smashed, homes were

wrecked, 400 Jews were killled and about 30,000 Jews were sent to

concentration camps. By Christmas 1938 two thousand of these Jews

were dead.

"Immediate_background" id="Immediate_background">Immediate


On 28 October 1938, about 17,000 Polish Jews, many of whom had been

living in Germany for 15-20 years or longer, were arrested and sent

to the Polish border. The Polish government (which was very

anti-Jewish) only admitted about about 25% of them and refused to

admit the others, claiming they were stateless. These Jews were

interned in camps on the German-Polish frontier in a kind of


The son of one of these unfortunate people assassinated a minor

official at the German embassy in Paris.

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On the night of 9-10 November 1938 Stormstroopers, acting on

orders, smashed up Jewish shops, homes and every synagogue the

length and breadth of Germany and Austria. In some places the

Stormtroopers wore civilian clothes in order to make it look as it

enraged members of the public were spontaneously committing the

violence. About 30,000 Jews were seized and sent to concentration

camps and were only released if they obtained visas to enter

foreign countries. (Of these, about 2,000 were dead by Christmas


The Nazi regime ordered the Jewish community to pay for the

damage done to its own property and also imposed a collective fine

on it!

The event is significant as it marked a major intensification of

the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. It was the first time

that the Nazis used organized, widespread violence against Jews

simply because they were Jews. It became clear that they were no

longer safe in Germany. Those who were able to do so, left Germany

after this.

"Why_was_it_called_'Kristallnacht'?" id=

"Why_was_it_called_'Kristallnacht'?">Why was it called


It is called that because of the broken glass. In English

'Kristallnacht' is often referred to as the 'Night of the Broken

Glass'. (The German 'Kristall' refers to the high grade 'crystal'

glass often used at the time for shop windows).

"Further_comments_and_answers" id=

"Further_comments_and_answers">Further comments and


Kristallnacht (the 'Night of the Broken Glass) was a planned attack

by Goebbels who thought an attack against the Jews would please

Hitler and other Nazis. However, the Nazis claimed that

Kristallnacht was a spontaneous attack by the German public as a

retaliation of the murder of a Nazi official in Paris by a Jew.

This was a lie. This murder was not the cause of Kristallnacht. The

attacks were carried out by the SS and SA, many dressed in plain

clothes, and services such as the firemen were to be seen to

putting out fires either side of Jewish houses but not the Jewish

houses themselves. The damage caused was devasting. Jewish houses,

shops, businesses, synagogues were ruined, 91 (?) Jews were killed

and 30,000 were deported to concentration camps. To add insult to

injury the Nazis then demanded from the Jews millions of

Reichsmarks to compensate for the damage done to their own


Note. More recent research (in the 1980s) indicates a figure of

400 Jews killed during Kristallnacht and the next two days or so.

The often quoted figure of 91 was that issued by the Nazis

themselves and is completely unreliable.

"Answer" id="Answer">Answer

Jewish busineses, shops and synagogues were pillaged and burned.

Jews were beaten up and killed and some Jewish women were raped by


The night of broken glass, a.k.a. Kristallnacht was a massive

beating up of Jewish people throughout Germany on November 9th to

10th, 1938. Many Jewish homes were broken into and destroyed,

leaving the streets lined with broken glass (hence its name). Jews

were beaten to death; 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration

camps. Throughout Germany, Austria, and part of Czechloslovakia,

Jews were beaten, raped and murdered. Afterwards, protests began

againast Kristallnacht in foreign countries, including in America.

In New York, German goods were boycotted and swastika flags were

burned in Chicago ...

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"Why_the_Nazis_organized_Kristallnacht">Why the Nazis organized


Some Jews had left Germany from 1933 onwards, but many were still

in the country in 1938. The annexation of Austria and the

Sudetenland had significantly increased the number of Jews in

Germany. The main purpose of the pogrom was to bully the German and

Austrian Jews into getting out of the country. There was a sudden

stampede to get out of Germany.

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