Kristallnacht happened during November 9-10, 1938. The word Kristallnacht means "The night of broken glass." Also, Kristallnacht means crystal night in German. During Kristallnacht, close to 100 Jews were killed. Also, 30,000 males from sixteen to sixty were arrested and sent to the concentration camps. Some women were arrested and sent to local jails. Over a thousand Jews ,if not arrested or killed, were subject to torment and violence. After Kristallnacht, things only got worse for the Jews.
Even before Kristallnacht, things were bad for the Jews. Earlier in 1938, Hitler began to pass laws against the Jews. In 1925, there were 564,378 Jews in Germany. In May 1939, that number fell to 213,390. On October 27, 1938 over 15,000 Jews were expelled from Germany by force. Up till Kristallnacht, the Nazis polices had not been very violent but after "Night of Broken Glass," things went very bad. Kristallnacht turned from not liking the Jews, to hating them.
Kristallnacht started because of a shooting in France on November 7, 1938. The shooting was caused by a student named Herschal Grynszpan, who was Polish. He shot Ernst Von Ratln. Ernst was a German diplomat, who died two days after he was shot. When the news got to Adolf Hitler about Ernst´s death , Hitler told Joseph Goebbles. Joseph was in charge of Hitler´s propaganda. To get back at the Jews for the shooting, Joseph sent telegrams from Munich throughout Germany to urge violence. Goebbles was the person in charge of starting the violence.
When Joseph Goebbles sent the telegram, he told the police and the Nazis to bring violence against the Jews. Joseph wanted it to look like spontaneous demonstrations. Chief Heinrich Muller sent the telegram to the police telling them not to intervene with the riots. The Nazis also told the German police not to do anything about the riots. With no one doing anything, the Germans could freely attack Jews and not get punished with anything. Even the German fireman were not allowed to put out any fires, unless they threatened to burn Aryan-owned property. The Jews did not have any official help.
The violence of Kristallnacht happened through late evening to early morning. People attacked Jews on the streets, at their homes, at work, or where they worshiped. Hundreds of the men that were arrested were set to concentration camps in Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen. Jewish children from the orphanages were throw into the streets. Some of the Hitler Youth even beat and murdered Jews. Spectators stayed and just watched everything happen.
During Kristallnacht, over 7,000 businesses were trashed and looted. Almost 7,500 Jewish businesses, schools, and cemeteries were vandalized or destroyed. The Jewish stores had been smashed or had their contents destroyed inside. At least 177 apartment building or houses were destroyed. More than 1,000 synagogues were burned. Synagogues were targeted because that is were the Jews worship. In Cologne, a town with Jewish traditions dating back from the first century, four synagogues burned. Many of the attackers were often neighbors to the Jewish families.
Kristallnacht got its name because after it, the streets of Jewish communities were filled with broken glass from all of the building destroyed. After Kristallnacht, things just went down-hill for the Jews. Life was even hard for the Jewish children and teenagers. Hundreds of the men that were arrested during Kristallnacht, died in the concentration camps they were sent to. Many Jewish adults committed suicide because they did not want to live through what was going on. People started to bring negativity to the Jews because of what happened at Kristallnacht.
On November 12, there was a meeting to notice what happened at Kristallnacht. The Nazis blamed the German-Jewish responsible for Kristallnacht, and they had a fine of $400 million (in 1938 rates). The Nazis took any chance they had to blame the Jews. Goebbles said the Jews had to clean out the debris from that night. Any money given to Jews because of property damage was taken away by the German government. Many of the Jewish shops that were wrecked never opened back up again. On November 15, after Kristallnacht, the Nazis barred Jews from going to school.
After Kristallnacht the Nazis made living in Germany almost impossible for the Jews. Jewish teenagers and children were beginning to become even more segregated from the Germans. Jews became banned from schools and most public places by the end of 1938. Jews were also required to wear the Star of David badge. Ghettos were beginning to be established. Jew were starting to be forced out of Germany. In October 1941, the number of Jews fell to 164,000. Kristallnacht was a bad thing to happen for everyone.