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Third Reich - Night of the broken Glass



The day after

Rounded up

 Deported


       Kristallnacht - Night of the broken glass was a night of violence orchestrated against the Jewish people and their properties in Germany. The shooting in Paris on 7 November 1938 of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by the Polish-Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan was the cause for the violence. The pogrom lasted two days and one night. News of vom Rath's death reached Hitler in Munich where he was celebrating the anniversary of his abortive 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. His Propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Göbbels, after having spoken with Adolf Hitler, addressed a gathering of Storm Troopers urging them to stage violent reprisals. To the Jews these reprisals were to appear as spontaneous demonstrations. Hasty phone calls from Munich triggered off pogroms throughout Germany and Austria.

   

Burning Synagogue on November 9, 1938 in Memel, Germany.

Burning Synagogue on November 9, 1938 in Siegen, Germany.


       Loss of life in that one night of barbarous violence mounted up to ninety one Jews killed, while hundreds more were seriously injured. Thousands were humiliated, terrorized, and imprisoned in concentration camps specifically built for that purpose. In these camps they where subjected to the most horrible of treatments. Some seven thousand Jewish businesses were destroyed and burned to the ground and an estimated one hundred and seventy seven synagogues also were burned or otherwise demolished. Police and the Fire brigade were given instruction not to interfere.

       Moreover, on orders from Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Sicherheitspolizei - Security Police, the Gestapo - Secret State Police arrested 30.000 wealthy Jews, who were to be released only on condition they would emigrate while surrendering their wealth to the Reich. Within a week Interior Minister Hermann Göring added his own measure ordering several further repressive actions to be carried out against the Jews. These measures included an indemnity charge of one billion Reich Marks against the Jews to be made payable to the Nazi Regime and the prohibition of making use of public parks. In addition, insurance pay outs to owners whose stores were destroyed were confiscated by the state thus creating a double loss for several Jewish store owners.

       Kristallnacht and its aftermath marked a major escalation in the Nazi program of Jewish persecution. This ultimately led to the ill-fated Wannsee conference where the future of the European Jews in Germany and the occupied territories was decided with the signing of the formula for the Final Solution also known as 'the solving of the Jewish Question'.