On this day: November 1938

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November 9-10

A violently destructive anti-Semitic campaign erupts throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland region. Members of the Hitler Youth and Nazi Stromtroopers division raid and destroy thousands of Jewish homes, shops, and synagogues at the behest of Nazi officials.

Police and firefighters are ordered by Gestapo headquarters not to intervene. In fact, local police support the Gestapo as they arrest thousands of Jewish men throughout the duration of the night.

The aftermath leaves at least 91 Jews killed, approximately 30,000 Jewish men arrested, approximately 7,000 Jewish-owned business looted, and a fine of one billion reichmarks (approximately $400 million at 1938 rates) charged to the German Jewish community in damages.

 "The Nazis came to call the event Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night,” or, “The Night of Broken Glass”), referring to the thousands of shattered windows that littered the streets afterwards, but the euphemism does not convey the full brutality of the event. Kristallnacht was a turning point in the history of the Third Reich, marking the shift from antisemitic rhetoric and legislation to the violent, aggressive anti-Jewish measures that would culminate with the Holocaust." --  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Nazi leaders do not waste any time after the pogrom. Almost immediately they increase their efforts to “Aryanize” the German population by passing and enforcing measures that segregate, persecute, and isolate Jews.

Jews make up less than 1% of the German population.

November 12

The German government issues a decree which forbids Jews from operating retail stores, sales agencies, trade, and selling goods of any kind.

November 15

German authorities ban Jewish children from German public schools. They are segregated instead into Jewish schools that are financed and managed by the Jewish communities.


Sources and Related Links

Holocaust Encyclopedia: Kristallnacht

Holocaust Encyclopedia: Anti-Jewish Legislation in Pre-War Germany

Timeline of Events: Kristallnacht

Oral History: Johanna Gerechter Neumann

Map: Kristallnacht

1938: Key Dates

Special Focus: Kristallnacht