Also known as "Night of the Broken Glass"

Basic Facts

  • Happened on the night of November 9, 1938.
  • Called "Night of the Broken Glass" due to the burning of synagogues and Jewish owned businesses and houses throughout the towns of Germany and Austria.
  • Anti-Jewish pogrom (pogrom: “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.”)
  • Around 8,000 Jewish owned shops, stores, and houses were destroyed.
  • Jewish men were harshly beaten, arrested, and killed.
  • 100 Jews were killed and 30,000 were sent to concentration camps.
  • The Hitler Youth units dressed up as civilians to pretend that the "public was angered" by the Jews.
  • Few "German" neighbors seized the opportunity to torture their Jewish neighbors.
  • Sturmabteilung (storm troopers) were given permission to destroy property owned by Jews.
  • This event was devised to usher Jews out of Germany and Austria.
  • Hitler gave direct orders to Joseph Goebbels (Head of Nazi propaganda) who personally conveyed the plans of the attack (to the storm troopers).
  • The Nazis were the masterminds behind the event, but disavowed responsibility of the attack.
  • The Nazis said that the event was triggered due to the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath, who was shot to death by a 17 year old Jewish boy by the name of Herschel Grynszpan.
  • Years earlier German authorities sentenced Jews of Polish citizenship to leave Germany.
  • Grynszpan and his family were forced to live in Paris illegally.
  • Out of anger and thirst for revenge, Grynszpan shot and killed Ernst vom Rath.
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Kristallnacht Video

Survivors Remember Kristallnacht: Susan (Hilsenrath) Warsinger


Fitzgerald, Stephanie. Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass: Igniting the Nazi War against Jews. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point, 2008. Print.

Nazis Smash, Loot and Burn, Jewish Shops and Temples, Until Gobbels Calls Halt. Digital image. Kristallnacht. The History Place: World War II in Europe, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Frankfurt, Germany, Burning of the Boemestrasse Synagogue on Kristallnacht 10/11/1938. Digital image. Frankfurt, Germany, Burning of the Boemestrasse Synagogue on Kristallnacht 10/11/1938. Pinkas Kehilot Germania, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Synagogue Burning. Digital image. Never Again: Remembering Kristallnacht – 75 Years Later. Sophie Golomb, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Byers, Ann. Kristallnacht and Living in Nazi Germany. New York: Rosen Groups, 2015. Print.

"Kristallnacht." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Survivors Remember Kristallnacht: Susan (Hilsenrath) Warsinger. Digital image. Http:// United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 5 Jan. 2016.