Tonight, November 9-10, marks the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass.
It is called the “Night of Broken Glass” because on this night, in 1938, thousands of rioters stormed Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues causing enormous amounts of damage throughout Germany and Austria.
Just before midnight on November 9, the Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller sent a telegram to all police units informing them:
“In shortest order, actions against Jews and especially their synagogues will take place in all of Germany. These are not to be interfered with.”
Instead of arresting the perpetrators of these events, police began rounding up and arresting the victims – Jews all over German occupied territories. Fire companies stood by synagogues in flames with explicit instructions to let the buildings burn. They were to intervene only if a fire threatened adjacent “Aryan” properties.
In two days and nights, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned or damaged, over 7,500 Jewish businesses were looted and ransacked, and at least 91 Jews were killed. Rioters also vandalized Jewish hospitals, homes, schools, and cemeteries. The attackers were often neighbors.
Some 30,000 Jewish males between 16 and 60 were arrested, and deported to concentration camps. Kristallnacht marked the official beginning of the Holocaust.
78 years later we still remember and will never forget!