Kristallnacht (German pronunciation: [kʁɪsˈtalnaχt]; lit. "Crystal Night") or Reichskristallnacht (German: [ˌʁaɪçs.kʁɪsˈtalnaχt] (listen)), also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, Reichspogromnacht [ˌʁaɪçs.poˈɡʁoːmnaχt] or simply Pogromnacht [poˈɡʁoːmnaχt] (listen), and Novemberpogrome [noˈvɛmbɐpoɡʁoːmə] (listen) (Yiddish: קרישטאָל נאַכט krishtol nakht), was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and civilians. The German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed.
Estimates of the number of fatalities caused by the pogrom have varied. Early reports estimated that 91 Jews were murdered during the attacks. Modern analysis of German scholarly sources by historians such as Sir Richard Evans puts the number much higher. When deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides are included, the death toll climbs into the hundreds. Additionally, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.
Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were either destroyed or damaged. The British historian Martin Gilbert wrote that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world. The British newspaper The Times wrote at the time: "No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday."
The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a seventeen-year-old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris. Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and it is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany's broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.
|Part of the Holocaust|
The interior of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht
(then including Austria and the Sudetenland)
Free City of Danzig
|Date||9–10 November 1938|
12–13 November (in Danzig)
|Pogrom, looting, arson, mass murder, state terrorism|
In the 1920s, most German Jews were fully integrated into German society as German citizens. They served in the German army and navy and contributed to every field of German business, science and culture. Conditions for the Jews began to change after the appointment of Adolf Hitler (the Austrian-born leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party) as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, and the Enabling Act (23 March 1933) assumption of power by Hitler after the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. From its inception, Hitler's régime moved quickly to introduce anti-Jewish policies. Nazi propaganda singled out the 500,000 Jews in Germany, who accounted for only 0.86% of the overall population, as an enemy within who were responsible for Germany's defeat in the First World War and for its subsequent economic disasters, such as the 1920s hyperinflation and Wall Street Crash Great Depression. Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to gain education, including the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933, which forbade Jews to work in the civil service. The subsequent 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of their citizenship and forbade Jews to marry non-Jewish Germans.
These laws resulted in the exclusion of Jews from German social and political life. Many sought asylum abroad; hundreds of thousands emigrated, but as Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1936, "The world seemed to be divided into two parts—those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter." The international Évian Conference on 6 July 1938 addressed the issue of Jewish and Gypsy immigration to other countries. By the time the conference took place, more than 250,000 Jews had fled Germany and Austria, which had been annexed by Germany in March 1938; more than 300,000 German and Austrian Jews continued to seek refuge and asylum from oppression. As the number of Jews and Gypsies wanting to leave increased, the restrictions against them grew, with many countries tightening their rules for admission. By 1938, Germany "had entered a new radical phase in anti-Semitic activity". Some historians believe that the Nazi government had been contemplating a planned outbreak of violence against the Jews and were waiting for an appropriate provocation; there is evidence of this planning dating to 1937. In a 1997 interview, the German historian Hans Mommsen claimed that a major motive for the pogrom was the desire of the Gauleiters of the NSDAP to seize Jewish property and businesses. Mommsen stated:
The need for money by the party organization stemmed from the fact that Franz Xaver Schwarz, the party treasurer, kept the local and regional organizations of the party short of money. In the fall of 1938, the increased pressure on Jewish property nourished the party's ambition, especially since Hjalmar Schacht had been ousted as Reich minister for economics. This, however, was only one aspect of the origin of the November 1938 pogrom. The Polish government threatened to extradite all Jews who were Polish citizens but would stay in Germany, thus creating a burden of responsibility on the German side. The immediate reaction by the Gestapo was to push the Polish Jews—16,000 persons—over the borderline, but this measure failed due to the stubbornness of the Polish customs officers. The loss of prestige as a result of this abortive operation called for some sort of compensation. Thus, the overreaction to Herschel Grynszpan's attempt against the diplomat Ernst vom Rath came into being and led to the November pogrom. The background of the pogrom was signified by a sharp cleavage of interests between the different agencies of party and state. While the Nazi party was interested in improving its financial strength on the regional and local level by taking over Jewish property, Hermann Göring, in charge of the Four-Year Plan, hoped to acquire access to foreign currency in order to pay for the import of urgently-needed raw material. Heydrich and Himmler were interested in fostering Jewish emigration.
The Zionist leadership in the British Mandate of Palestine wrote in February 1938 that according to "a very reliable private source—one which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the SS leadership", there was "an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom in Germany on a large scale in the near future".
In August 1938 the German authorities announced that residence permits for foreigners were being canceled and would have to be renewed. This included German-born Jews of foreign citizenship. Poland stated that it would renounce citizenship rights of Polish Jews living abroad for at least five years after the end of October, effectively making them stateless. In the so-called "Polenaktion", more than 12,000 Polish Jews, among them the philosopher and theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and future literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki were expelled from Germany on 28 October 1938, on Hitler's orders. They were ordered to leave their homes in a single night and were allowed only one suitcase per person to carry their belongings. As the Jews were taken away, their remaining possessions were seized as loot both by the Nazi authorities and by their neighbors.
The deportees were taken from their homes to railway stations and were put on trains to the Polish border, where Polish border guards sent them back into Germany. This stalemate continued for days in the pouring rain, with the Jews marching without food or shelter between the borders. Four thousand were granted entry into Poland, but the remaining 8,000 were forced to stay at the border. They waited there in harsh conditions to be allowed to enter Poland. A British newspaper told its readers that hundreds "are reported to be lying about, penniless and deserted, in little villages along the frontier near where they had been driven out by the Gestapo and left." Conditions in the refugee camps "were so bad that some actually tried to escape back into Germany and were shot", recalled a British woman who was sent to help those who had been expelled.
Among those expelled was the family of Sendel and Riva Grynszpan, Polish Jews who had emigrated to Germany in 1911 and settled in Hanover, Germany. At the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, Sendel Grynszpan recounted the events of their deportation from Hanover on the night of 27 October 1938: "Then they took us in police trucks, in prisoners' lorries, about 20 men in each truck, and they took us to the railway station. The streets were full of people shouting: 'Juden Raus! Auf Nach Palästina!'" ("Jews out, out to Palestine!"). Their seventeen-year-old son Herschel was living in Paris with an uncle. Herschel received a postcard from his family from the Polish border, describing the family's expulsion: "No one told us what was up, but we realized this was going to be the end ... We haven't a penny. Could you send us something?" He received the postcard on 3 November 1938.
On the morning of Monday, 7 November 1938, he purchased a revolver and a box of bullets, then went to the German embassy and asked to see an embassy official. After he was taken to the office of Ernst vom Rath, Grynszpan fired five bullets at Vom Rath, two of which hit him in the abdomen. Vom Rath was a professional diplomat with the Foreign Office who expressed anti-Nazi sympathies, largely based on the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, and was under Gestapo investigation for being politically unreliable. Grynszpan made no attempt to escape the French police and freely confessed to the shooting. In his pocket, he carried a postcard to his parents with the message, "May God forgive me ... I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do." It is widely assumed that the assassination was politically motivated, but historian Hans-Jürgen Döscher says the shooting may have been the result of a homosexual love affair gone wrong. Grynszpan and vom Rath had become intimate after they met in Le Boeuf sur le Toit, which was a popular meeting place for gay men at the time.
The next day, the German government retaliated, barring Jewish children from German state elementary schools, indefinitely suspending Jewish cultural activities, and putting a halt to the publication of Jewish newspapers and magazines, including the three national German Jewish newspapers. A newspaper in Britain described the last move, which cut off the Jewish populace from their leaders, as "intended to disrupt the Jewish community and rob it of the last frail ties which hold it together." Their rights as citizens had been stripped. One of the first legal measures issued was an order by Heinrich Himmler, commander of all German police, forbidding Jews to possess any weapons whatsoever and imposing a penalty of twenty years confinement in a concentration camp upon every Jew found in possession of a weapon hereafter.
Ernst Vom Rath died of his wounds on 9 November. Word of his death reached Hitler that evening while he was with several key members of the Nazi party at a dinner commemorating the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. After intense discussions, Hitler left the assembly abruptly without giving his usual address. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivered the speech, in his place, and said that "the Führer has decided that... demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered." The chief party judge Walter Buch later stated that the message was clear; with these words, Goebbels had commanded the party leaders to organize a pogrom.
Some leading party officials disagreed with Goebbels' actions, fearing the diplomatic crisis it would provoke. Heinrich Himmler wrote, "I suppose that it is Goebbels's megalomania...and stupidity which is responsible for starting this operation now, in a particularly difficult diplomatic situation." The Israeli historian Saul Friedländer believes that Goebbels had personal reasons for wanting to bring about Kristallnacht. Goebbels had recently suffered humiliation for the ineffectiveness of his propaganda campaign during the Sudeten crisis, and was in some disgrace over an affair with a Czech actress, Lída Baarová. Goebbels needed a chance to improve his standing in the eyes of Hitler. At 01:20 am on 10 November 1938, Reinhard Heydrich sent an urgent secret telegram to the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police; SiPo) and the Sturmabteilung (SA), containing instructions regarding the riots. This included guidelines for the protection of foreigners and non-Jewish businesses and property. Police were instructed not to interfere with the riots unless the guidelines were violated. Police were also instructed to seize Jewish archives from synagogues and community offices, and to arrest and detain "healthy male Jews, who are not too old", for eventual transfer to (labor) concentration camps.
The SA and Hitler Youth shattered the windows of about 7,500 Jewish stores and businesses, hence the appellation Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), and looted their goods. Jewish homes were ransacked all throughout Germany. Although violence against Jews had not been explicitly condoned by the authorities, there were cases of Jews being beaten or assaulted. Following the violence, police departments recorded a large number of suicides and rapes.
The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Over 1400 synagogues and prayer rooms, many Jewish cemeteries, more than 7,000 Jewish shops, and 29 department stores were damaged, and in many cases destroyed. More than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps; primarily Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.
The synagogues, some centuries old, were also victims of considerable violence and vandalism, with the tactics the Stormtroops practiced on these and other sacred sites described as "approaching the ghoulish" by the United States Consul in Leipzig. Tombstones were uprooted and graves violated. Fires were lit, and prayer books, scrolls, artwork and philosophy texts were thrown upon them, and precious buildings were either burned or smashed until unrecognizable. Eric Lucas recalls the destruction of the synagogue that a tiny Jewish community had constructed in a small village only twelve years earlier:
It did not take long before the first heavy grey stones came tumbling down, and the children of the village amused themselves as they flung stones into the many colored windows. When the first rays of a cold and pale November sun penetrated the heavy dark clouds, the little synagogue was but a heap of stone, broken glass and smashed-up woodwork.
After this, the Jewish community was fined 1 billion Reichsmarks (equivalent to 4 billion 2009 €). In addition, it cost 40 million marks to repair the windows. The Daily Telegraph correspondent, Hugh Greene, wrote of events in Berlin:
Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the "fun".
Many Berliners were however deeply ashamed of the pogrom, and some took great personal risks to offer help. The son of a US consular official heard the janitor of his block cry: "They must have emptied the insane asylums and penitentiaries to find people who'd do things like that!"
Tucson News TV channel briefly reported on a 2008 remembrance meeting at a local Jewish congregation. According to eyewitness Esther Harris: "They ripped up the belongings, the books, knocked over furniture, shouted obscenities". Historian Gerhard Weinberg is quoted as saying:
Houses of worship burned down, vandalized, in every community in the country where people either participate or watch.
Göring, who was in favor of expropriating the Jews rather than destroying Jewish property as had happened in the pogrom, complained directly to Sicherheitspolizei Chief Heydrich immediately after the events: "I'd rather you had done in two-hundred Jews than destroy so many valuable assets!" ("Mir wäre lieber gewesen, ihr hättet 200 Juden erschlagen und hättet nicht solche Werte vernichtet!"). Göring met with other members of the Nazi leadership on 12 November to plan the next steps after the riot, setting the stage for formal government action. In the transcript of the meeting, Göring said,
I have received a letter written on the Führer's orders requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, coordinated and solved one way or another... I should not want to leave any doubt, gentlemen, as to the aim of today's meeting. We have not come together merely to talk again, but to make decisions, and I implore competent agencies to take all measures for the elimination of the Jew from the German economy, and to submit them to me.
The persecution and economic damage inflicted upon German Jews continued after the pogrom, even as their places of business were ransacked. They were forced to pay Judenvermögensabgabe, a collective fine of one billion marks for the murder of vom Rath (equal to roughly $US 5.5 billion in today's currency), which was levied by the compulsory acquisition of 20% of all Jewish property by the state. Six million Reichsmarks of insurance payments for property damage due to the Jewish community were to be paid to the government instead as "damages to the German Nation".
The number of emigrating Jews surged, as those who were able left the country. In the ten months following Kristallnacht, more than 115,000 Jews emigrated from the Reich. The majority went to other European countries, the US and Palestine, and at least 14,000 made it to Shanghai, China. As part of government policy, the Nazis seized houses, shops, and other property the émigrés left behind. Many of the destroyed remains of Jewish property plundered during Kristallnacht were dumped near Brandenburg. In October 2008, this dumpsite was discovered by Yaron Svoray, an investigative journalist. The site, the size of four Association football fields, contained an extensive array of personal and ceremonial items looted during the riots against Jewish property and places of worship on the night of 9 November 1938. It is believed the goods were brought by rail to the outskirts of the village and dumped on designated land. Among the items found were glass bottles engraved with the Star of David, mezuzot, painted window sills, and the armrests of chairs found in synagogues, in addition to an ornamental swastika.
The reaction of non-Jewish Germans to Kristallnacht was varied. Many spectators gathered on the scenes, most of them in silence. The local fire departments confined themselves to prevent the flames from spreading to neighboring buildings. In Berlin, police Lieutenant Otto Bellgardt barred SA troopers from setting the New Synagogue on fire, earning his superior officer a verbal reprimand from the commissioner.
The British historian Martin Gilbert believes that "many non-Jews resented the round-up", his opinion being supported by German witness Dr. Arthur Flehinger who recalls seeing "people crying while watching from behind their curtains". Rolf Dessauers recalls how a neighbor came forward and restored a portrait of Paul Ehrlich that had been "slashed to ribbons" by the Sturmabteilung. "He wanted it to be known that not all Germans supported Kristallnacht." The extent of the damage done on Kristallnacht was so great that many Germans are said to have expressed their disapproval of it, and to have described it as senseless.
In an article released for publication on the evening of 11 November, Goebbels ascribed the events of Kristallnacht to the "healthy instincts" of the German people. He went on to explain: "The German people are anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race." Less than 24 hours after the Kristallnacht Adolf Hitler made a one-hour long speech in front of a group of journalists where he managed to completely ignore the recent events on everyone's mind. According to Eugene Davidson the reason for this was that Hitler wished to avoid being directly connected to an event that he was aware that many of those present condemned, regardless of Goebbels's unconvincing explanation that Kristallnacht was caused by popular wrath. Goebbels met the foreign press in the afternoon of 11 November and said that the burning of synagogues and damage to Jewish owned property had been "spontaneous manifestations of indignation against the murder of Herr Vom Rath by the young Jew Grynsban [sic]"
In 1938, just after Kristallnacht, the psychologist Michael Müller-Claudius interviewed 41 randomly selected Nazi Party members on their attitudes towards racial persecution. Of the interviewed party-members 63% expressed extreme indignation against it, while only 5% expressed approval of racial persecution, the rest being noncommittal. A study conducted in 1933 had then shown that 33% of Nazi Party members held no racial prejudice while 13% supported persecution. Sarah Ann Gordon sees two possible reasons for this difference. First, by 1938 large numbers of Germans had joined the Nazi Party for pragmatic reasons rather than ideology thus diluting the percentage of rabid antisemites; second, the Kristallnacht could have caused party members to reject Antisemitism that had been acceptable to them in abstract terms but which they could not support when they saw it concretely enacted. During the Kristallnacht, several Gauleiter and deputy Gauleiters had refused orders to enact the Kristallnacht, and many leaders of the SA and of the Hitler Youth also openly refused party orders, while expressing disgust. Some Nazis helped Jews during the Kristallnacht.
As it was aware that the German public did not support the Kristallnacht, the propaganda ministry directed the German press to portray opponents of racial persecution as disloyal. The press was also under orders to downplay the Kristallnacht, describing general events at the local level only, with the prohibition against depictions of individual events. In 1939 this was extended to a prohibition on reporting any anti-Jewish measures.
The U.S. ambassador to Germany reported:
In view of this being a totalitarian state a surprising characteristic of the situation here is the intensity and scope among German citizens of condemnation of the recent happenings against Jews.
To the consternation of the Nazis, the Kristallnacht affected public opinion counter to their desires, the peak of opposition against the Nazi racial policies was reached just then, when according to almost all accounts the vast majority of Germans rejected the violence perpetrated against the Jews. Verbal complaints grew rapidly in numbers, and for example, the Duesseldorf branch of the Gestapo reported a sharp decline in anti-Semitic attitudes among the population.
There are many indications of Protestant and Catholic disapproval of racial persecution; for example, anti-Nazi Protestants adopted the Barmen Declaration in 1934, and the Catholic church had already distributed Pastoral letters critical of Nazi racial ideology, and the Nazi regime expected to encounter organised resistance from it following Kristallnacht. The Catholic leadership however, just as the various Protestant churches, refrained from responding with organised action. While individual Catholics and Protestants took action, the churches as a whole chose silence publicly. Nevertheless, individuals continued to show courage, for example, a Parson paid the medical bills of a Jewish cancer patient and was sentenced to a large fine and several months in prison in 1941, Reformed Church pastor Paul Schneider placed a Nazi sympathizer under church discipline and he was subsequently sent to Buchenwald where he was murdered. A Catholic nun was sentenced to death in 1945 for helping Jews. A Protestant parson spoke out in 1943 and was sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died after a few days.
Martin Sasse, Nazi Party member and bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, leading member of the Nazi German Christians, one of the schismatic factions of German Protestantism, published a compendium of Martin Luther's writings shortly after the Kristallnacht; Sasse "applauded the burning of the synagogues" and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, "On 10 November 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany." The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words "of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews." Diarmaid MacCulloch argued that Luther's 1543 pamphlet, On the Jews and Their Lies was a "blueprint" for the Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht sparked international outrage. It discredited pro-Nazi movements in Europe and North America, leading to an eventual decline in their support. Many newspapers condemned Kristallnacht, with some of them comparing it to the murderous pogroms incited by Imperial Russia during the 1880s. The United States recalled its ambassador (but it did not break off diplomatic relations) while other governments severed diplomatic relations with Germany in protest. The British government approved the Kindertransport program for refugee children. As such, Kristallnacht also marked a turning point in relations between Nazi Germany and the rest of the world. The brutality of the pogrom, and the Nazi government's deliberate policy of encouraging the violence once it had begun, laid bare the repressive nature and widespread anti-Semitism entrenched in Germany. World opinion thus turned sharply against the Nazi regime, with some politicians calling for war. The private protest against the Germans following Kristallnacht was held on 6 December 1938. William Cooper, an Aboriginal Australian, led a delegation of the Australian Aboriginal League on a march through Melbourne to the German Consulate to deliver a petition which condemned the "cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany". German officials refused to accept the tendered document.
After the Kristallnacht, Salvador Allende, Gabriel González Videla, Marmaduke Grove, Florencio Durán and other members of the Congress of Chile sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler denouncing the persecution of Jews. A more personal response, in 1939, was the oratorio A Child of Our Time by the English composer Michael Tippett.
Kristallnacht changed the nature of the Nazi persecution of Jews from economic, political, and social to physical with beatings, incarceration, and murder; the event is often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust. In the words of historian Max Rein in 1988, "Kristallnacht came...and everything was changed."
While November 1938 predated the overt articulation of "the Final Solution", it foreshadowed the genocide to come. Around the time of Kristallnacht, the SS newspaper Das Schwarze Korps called for a "destruction by swords and flames." At a conference on the day after the pogrom, Hermann Göring said: "The Jewish problem will reach its solution if, in anytime soon, we will be drawn into war beyond our border—then it is obvious that we will have to manage a final account with the Jews."
Many decades later, association with the Kristallnacht anniversary was cited as the main reason against choosing 9 November (Schicksalstag), the day the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, as the new German national holiday; a different day was chosen (3 October 1990, German reunification).
The avant-garde guitarist Gary Lucas's 1988 composition "Verklärte Kristallnacht", which juxtaposes what would become the Israeli national anthem ten years after Kristallnacht, "Hatikvah", with phrases from the German national anthem "Deutschland Über Alles" amid wild electronic shrieks and noise, is intended to be a sonic representation of the horrors of Kristallnacht. It was premiered at the 1988 Berlin Jazz Festival and received rave reviews. (The title is a reference to Arnold Schoenberg's 1899 work "Verklärte Nacht" that presaged his pioneering work on atonal music; Schoenberg was an Austrian Jew who would move to the United States to escape the Nazis).
Kristallnacht was the inspiration for the 1993 album Kristallnacht by the composer John Zorn. The German power metal band Masterplan's debut album, Masterplan (2003), features an anti-Nazi song entitled "Crystal Night" as the fourth track. The German band BAP published a song titled "Kristallnaach" in their Cologne dialect, dealing with the emotions engendered by the Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht was the inspiration for the 1988 composition Mayn Yngele by the composer Frederic Rzewski, of which he says: "I began writing this piece in November 1988, on the 50th anniversary of the Kristallnacht ... My piece is a reflection on that vanished part of Jewish tradition which so strongly colors, by its absence, the culture of our time".
Kristallnacht was invoked as a reference point on July 16, 2018 by a former Watergate Prosecutor, Jill Wine-Banks, during an MSNBC segment. Her argument was that President Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a performance that would live in infamy much like the attack on Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht has been referenced both explicitly and implicitly in countless cases of vandalism of Jewish property including the toppling of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, and the two 2017 vandalisms of the New England Holocaust Memorial, as the memorial's founder Steve Ross discusses in his book, From Broken Glass: My Story of Finding Hope in Hitler's Death Camps to Inspire a New Generation.
...vom Rath joined the NSDAP (Nazi party) on July 14, 1932, well before Hitler's ascent to power
A knowing reference to Arnold Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht", the piece ironically juxtaposed the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah," with phrases from "Deutschland Uber Alles," amid wild electronic shrieks and noise. The next day the papers ran a picture of Lucas with the triumphant headline, "It is Lucas!"
Scientists now predect our current course will raise world temperatures five degrees Celsius in our lifetimes
The worst ethnic violence in Kosovo since the end of the 1999 conflict erupted in the partitioned town of Mitrovica, leaving hundreds wounded and at least 14 people dead. UN peacekeepers and Nato troops scrambled to contain a raging gun battle between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. In Serbia the events were also called the March Pogrom (Serbian: Мартовски погром / Martovski pogrom).
International courts in Pristina have prosecuted several people who attacked several Serbian Orthodox churches, handing down jail sentences ranging from 21 months to 16 years.A Child of Our Time
A Child of Our Time is a secular oratorio by the British composer Michael Tippett (1905–1998), who also wrote the libretto. Composed between 1939 and 1941, it was first performed at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 19 March 1944. The work was inspired by events that affected Tippett profoundly: the assassination in 1938 of a German diplomat by a young Jewish refugee, and the Nazi government's reaction in the form of a violent pogrom against its Jewish population—called Kristallnacht. Tippett's oratorio deals with these incidents in the context of the experiences of oppressed people generally, and carries a strongly pacifist message of ultimate understanding and reconciliation. The text's recurrent themes of shadow and light reflect the Jungian psychoanalysis which Tippett underwent in the years immediately before writing the work.
The oratorio uses a traditional three-part format based on that of Handel's Messiah, and is structured in the manner of Bach's Passions. The work's most original feature is Tippett's use of African-American spirituals, which carry out the role allocated by Bach to chorales. Tippett justified this innovation on the grounds that these songs of oppression possess a universality absent from traditional hymns. A Child of Our Time was well received on its first performance, and has since been performed all over the world in many languages. A number of recorded versions are available, including one conducted by Tippett when he was 86 years old.Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany
Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany comprised several laws that segregated the Jews from German society and restricted Jewish people's political, legal and civil rights. Major legislative initiatives included a series of restrictive laws passed in 1933, the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and a final wave of legislation preceding Germany's entry into World War II.Aryanization
Aryanization (German: Arisierung) was the forced expulsion of Jews from business life in Nazi Germany, Axis-aligned states, and their occupied territories. It entailed the transfer of Jewish property into "Aryan" hands in order to "de-Jew the economy".
The process started in 1933 in Nazi Germany with so-called "voluntary" transfers of Jewish property and ended with the Holocaust. Two phases have generally been identified: a first phase in which the destitution of Jewish victims was concealed under a veneer of legality, and a second phase, in which property was more openly confiscated. In both cases, Aryanization corresponded to Nazi policy and was defined, supported and enforced by Germany's legal and financial bureaucracy.Before Hitler came to power Jews owned 100,000 businesses in Germany. By 1938, boycotts, intimidation, forced sales and restrictions on professions had largely forced Jews out of economic life. According to Yad Vashem, "Of the 50,000 Jewish-owned stores that existed in 1933, only 9,000 remained in 1938."Australian Aborigines' League
The Australian Aborigines' League was established in Melbourne, Australia, in 1934 by William Cooper and others, including Margaret Tucker, Eric Onus, Anna and Caleb Morgan, and Shadrach James.In a Letter to the Editor of the West Australian, the Hon. Secretary of the Australian Aborigines League, William Cooper wrote that, "The plea of our league is "a fair deal for the dark race."An early initiative by the League was to petition King George V for Indigenous Australians to be represented in the Australian Parliament, among other requests. 1,814 signatures were collected on the petition, although it was reported that William Cooper believed many Aboriginal people living on missions were too afraid to add their signature.In 1938 it joined the New South Wales based Aborigines Progressive Association in staging a Day of Mourning on Australia Day (26 January) in Sydney to draw attention to the treatment of Aborigines and to demand full citizenship and equal rights. Mr. W. Ferguson, organising secretary of the Aborigines' Progressive Association of New South Wales, said of the planned national day of mourning: "The aborigines do not want protection... We have been protected for 150 years, and look what has become of us. Scientists have studied us and written books about us as though we were some strange curiosities, but they have not prevented us from contracting tuberculosis and other diseases, which have wiped us out in thousands."On 6 December 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany, a delegation of League members, led by Cooper, went to the German Consulate in Melbourne with a petition protesting against the “cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany”.The League was less active after Cooper’s death in 1941 but was revived after the Second World War by Douglas Nicholls and by Eric and Bill Onus. In the 1960s it became the Victorian branch of the Aborigines Advancement League.Broken Glass (play)
Broken Glass is a 1994 play by Arthur Miller, focusing on a couple in New York City in 1938, the same time of Kristallnacht, in Nazi Germany. The play's title is derived from Kristallnacht, which is also known as the Night of Broken Glass.Ernst vom Rath
Ernst Eduard vom Rath (3 June 1909 – 9 November 1938) was a German diplomat, remembered for his assassination in Paris in 1938 by a Polish Jewish teenager, Herschel Grynszpan, which provided a pretext for the Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass".Fasanenstrasse Synagogue
The Fasanenstrasse Synagogue was a liberal Jewish synagogue in Berlin, Germany opened on 26 August 1912. It was located in an affluent neighbourhood of Charlottenburg on Fasanenstrasse off Kurfürstendamm at numbers 79–80, close to the Berlin Stadtbahn and Zoo Station.Holocaust (miniseries)
Holocaust is a 1978 American four part television miniseries which recounts the trajectory of the Holocaust from the perspectives of the fictional Weiss family of German Jews and that of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos, and later, the use of gas chambers. Although the miniseries won several awards and received positive reviews, it was criticized by others, such as the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who wrote in The New York Times that it was: "Untrue, offensive, cheap: as a TV production, the film an insult to those who perished and to those who survived."The series was presented in four parts on NBC:
Part 1: The Gathering Darkness (original airdate: April 16, 1978)
Part 2: The Road to Babi Yar (original airdate: April 17, 1978)
Part 3: The Final Solution (original airdate: April 18, 1978)
Part 4: The Saving Remnant (original airdate: April 19, 1978)Kristallnacht (album)
Kristallnacht is an album by John Zorn first released in 1993 on the Japanese Eva label and subsequently in 1995 on Zorn's own Tzadik Records label.Leopoldstädter Tempel
The Leopoldstädter Tempel was the largest synagogue of Vienna, in the district (Bezirk) of Leopoldstadt. It was also known as the Israelitische Bethaus in der Wiener Vorstadt Leopoldstadt. It was built in 1858 in a Moorish Revival style by the architect Ludwig Förster. The tripartite facade of the Leopoldstädter, with its tall central section flanked by lower wings on each side, became the model for numerous Moorish Revival synagogues, including the Zagreb Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue in Prague, the Tempel Synagogue in Kraków, the Grand Synagogue of Edirne and Templul Coral in Bucharest.
This temple was destroyed during the Kristallnacht on November 10, 1938. A memorial plaque on the site reads in German (and Hebrew):
Hier befand sich der Leopoldstädter Tempel, der im Jahre 1858 nach Plänen von Architekt Leopold Förster im maurischen Stil errichtet und am 10. November 1938 in der sogenannten "Reichskristallnacht" von den nationalsozialistischen Barbaren bis auf die Grundmauern zerstört wurde.
Here stood the Leopoldstädter Temple, built in 1858 in the Moorish style according to the plans of architect Leopold Förster, all but the foundation of which was completely destroyed by National Socialist barbarians on the so-called "Night of Broken Glass" on 10 November 1938.Menahem Pressler
Menahem Pressler (born 16 December 1923, Magdeburg) is a German-born Israeli-American pianist.
Following Kristallnacht, Pressler and his immediate family fled Nazi Germany in 1939, initially to Italy, and then to Palestine. His grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all died in concentration camps. His career was launched after he won first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. His Carnegie Hall debut subsequently followed, with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.
Since 1955, Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair. His debut as a chamber musician was at the 1955 Berkshire Festival, where he appeared as the pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, with Daniel Guilet, violin, and Bernard Greenhouse, cello. Although he was a junior partner in the Beaux Arts Trio at the outset, Pressler ultimately became the only original member of the trio to perform with the group through its entire existence, including several changes of membership, up to the dissolution of the trio in 2008. In 2010, he played at the Rheingau Musik Festival with Antônio Meneses, the last cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio, and appeared before in the series Rendezvous.Pressler returned to Germany in 2008 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. In January 2014, aged 90, he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. His performance with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle at their 2014 New Year's Eve Concert was televised live all over the world.
The Beaux Arts Trio made an extensive series of recordings for Philips. In addition, Pressler has recorded solo piano music commercially on the La Dolce Volta label and Deutsche Grammophon in 2018 a recording of French music dedicated to his constant companion Annabelle Whitestone Lady Weidenfeld (Deutsche Grammophon.com) Already at the beginning of the 1950s he had recorded a substantial quantity of solo piano music and for piano and orchestra of various composers for the US label MGM.Moorish Revival architecture
Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish is one of the exotic revival architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Romanticist fascination with all things oriental. It reached the height of its popularity after the mid-19th century, part of a widening vocabulary of articulated decorative ornament drawn from historical sources beyond familiar classical and Gothic modes.Nathan Israel Department Store
The Nathan Israel Department Store (German: Kaufhaus Nathan Israel or Kaufhaus N. Israel) was a department store in Berlin. The business was started in 1815 by Nathan Israel as a small second-hand store in the Molkenmarkt. By 1925, it employed over 2,000 people and was a member of the Berlin Stock Exchange, and in the 1930s was one of the largest retail establishments in Europe. Because it was owned by Jews, the store was boycotted by the German government when the Nazi Party came to power in 1933. It was ransacked during the Kristallnacht in 1938 and then handed over to a non-Jewish family by the Nazis. The descendants of the original owners began to receive compensation for their losses after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.New Synagogue (Wrocław)
The New Synagogue was the largest synagogue in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland). It was one of the largest synagogues in the German Empire and a centre of Reform Judaism in Breslau. It was built in 1865–1872, and designed by Edwin Oppler. It was burnt down during the Kristallnacht pogrom which swept across Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938.November 9th Society
The November 9th Society (also known as the British First Party or N9S) is a British neo-Nazi group, formed in 1977 by Terry Flynn. The 9th of November has been a pivotal date in German history on several occasions: the execution of the liberal leader Robert Blum which effectively ended the German revolutions in 1848; the abdication of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and the end of the German Empire in 1918; the failed Nazi Beer Hall Putsch in 1923; and the beginning of Kristallnacht in 1938.Ratniks
The Ratniks (Ратник), or Warriors for the Advancement of the Bulgarian National Spirit, were members of a far-right Bulgarian nationalist organization founded in 1936. Its ideas were close to those of Germany's Nazis, including antisemitism and paramilitarism, but also loyalty to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Ratniks (ratnitsi) wore red uniforms in outright competition with the communists for the hearts and minds of the Bulgarian youth, and also badges bearing the Bogar: a Bulgarian sun cross.
Despite decreeing their loyalty to the Monarchy and King Boris III of Bulgaria he officially dissolved the organisation in April 1939. The ban however was not enforced and they remained in existence. It was soon after the ban that they carried out one of their more notorious acts, the so-called "Bulgarian Kristallnacht" when, on September 20, 1939, the Ratniks marched in Sofia throwing stones at the Jewish shops. Police did not intervene and some shop windows were smashed although ultimately it proved to have much less impact than the German version and was widely condemned by most politicians. Alexander Belev, a leading member of the group, later claimed that the attack had been his idea and that he had personally led the mob.With the coming of the Red Army and the Bolsheviks into Bulgaria on September 9, 1944, the Ratniks disappeared from the Bulgarian scene. Many of the leaders became members of the Bulgarian national government abroad, some of the young Ratniks become volunteers in the Wehrmacht, while others chose to stay in Bulgaria and fight against the Communists.Reductio ad Hitlerum
Reductio ad Hitlerum (; pseudo-Latin for "reduction to Hitler"; sometimes argumentum ad Hitlerum, "argument to Hitler", ad Nazium, "to Nazism"), or playing the Nazi card, is an attempt to invalidate someone else's position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party, for example: "Hitler was against tobacco smoking, X is against tobacco smoking, therefore X is a Nazi".
Coined by Leo Strauss in 1953, reductio ad Hitlerum borrows its name from the term used in logic, reductio ad absurdum (reduction to the absurd). According to Strauss, reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of ad hominem, ad misericordiam, or a fallacy of irrelevance. The suggested rationale is one of guilt by association. It is a tactic often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger the opponent.William Cooper (Aboriginal Australian)
William Cooper (18 December 1860 or 1861 – 29 March 1941) was an Australian Aboriginal political activist and community leader.
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