On the night of November 9 and through the 10, 1938, Nazis attacked Jewish prisoners, people and property throughout Germany and Austria. This incident is known as Kristallnacht. Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses. This is also known as the Night of Broken of Glass due to the shattered glass from Jewish properties that lined the streets of Germany after the destruction. Thousands of Jews were subjected to terror and violence that night .
Nazi storm troopers along with members of the SS and Hitler Youth beat and murdered Jews, broke into and wrecked Jewish homes, and brutalized around 200 Jewish women and children. A total of 1350 Jewish synagogues were burnt to the ground or destroyed; 91 Jews were killed; 30,000 Jews were thrown into concentration camps; 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed and thousands of Jewish homes were ransacked. 25,000 prisoners in the concentration camps were Jewish men. Jewish cemeteries were a main focus of destruction as well.
Nazi officials ordered German police officers and firemen to do nothing as the streets raged and buildings burned, although firefighters were allowed to extinguish blazes that threatened any non- Jewish properties. Mobs of SA men roamed the streets, attacking Jews in their homes and forcing Jews they encountered to perform public acts of humiliation.
German Jews had been repressed to policies since 1933, when Hitler became chancellor of Germany, and before Kristallnacht the Nazis had been non - violent. The assassination of one of Germany´s ambassadors sparked the Night of Broken glass. Two Polish Jews had a son named Henry Grynszpan, who was living in Paris. He was frantic with concern for his parents and felt that he needed to do something to publicize the plight of the Jews in Germany. Grynszpan got a gun, walked to the the German embassy in Paris, and shot an official named Ernst von Rath. This triggered a spontaneous uprising against the Jews, which had been planned for awhile, but now had a pretext to put the plan into action.
Despite the outward appearance of spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave specific instructions. The spontaneous rioters were to take no measures endangering non- Jewish German life or property; they were not to subject foreigners ( even Jewish foreigner ) to violence. They were to remove all synagogues and other properties of the Jewish communities and to transfer that archival material to the secret service. The orders also said that the police officials should arrest as many Jews as the local jails can hold, mostly young, healthy men.
On the night of Broken Glass, violence was not suggested but many Jewish people were assaulted or murdered. Suicide rates had also gone up among Jewish people in Germany and other territories. The largest Jewish communities were in Berlin and Vienna. These communities suffered from attacks from SA mobs. Police records of that time have a high number rapes and assaults in the aftermath of that event.
Germany did not produce plate glass at the time, so they used all of Belguim's plate glass and took six months to repair. To pay for the damage from Kristallnacht, Nazi officials ordered that the Jews be held responsible and pay for ALL the damage done that night. Jews were ordered to give up fine metals and jewelry to help pay for this. The Nazis ordered Jewish influences be removed from German economics. The rubble also had to be cleared by the Jews.
The night of Broken Glass was the first attack that the Nazis had launched against Jews on such a large scale, imprisoning them because of their ethnicity. Jews were to be further removed from the consideration of the German society by new laws that were put into place to do so. These laws were made to deprive them from their properties and of their livelihood. By December 1938, most Jews banned from public places. For example, Jews had curfews, 5 am and 9 pm in the summer, and 8 am to 6 pm in the winter. Jewish children were expelled from all German schools. Jewish people were segregated within towns in Germany. The people also had to wear the star of David. This marked a turning point to a more violent and repressive treatment toward Jews.
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