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Kristallnacht

The Kristallnacht, also known as Reichskristallnacht or The Night of Broken Glass in English, involved a large-scale pogrom against Jewish citizens throughout Germany in the night from November 9 to November 10, 1938.

On November 7, 1938, Ernst von Rath[?], secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, was shot dead by Herschel Grynszpan, a Jewish German who had fled to France. The Nazis took this as an excuse for launching a pogrom against Jewish inhabitants throughout the country. The attack was intended to look like a spontaneous act of all Germans, but was indeed well orchestrated by the Nazi party NSDAP.

Almost all synagogues, many Jewish cemeteries, more than 7,000 Jewish shops and 29 department stores were destroyed. More than 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to concentration camps. An unknown number of Jews were killed, as well as some Germans who looked Jewish to the Nazis.

The event was titled Kristallnacht (German for "crystal night") because of the many shop windows that were broken during the night. Today in Germany it is mostly called Pogromnacht ("pogrom night"), since the word "Kristallnacht" was a creation of the Nazis.

Kristallnacht ushered in a new phase in the antisemitic activities of the Nazi state apparatus. Measures to bring about the emigration and, finally, the extermination of the Jewish people were untertaken without due process of law.



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