Kristallnacht

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!

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Ahavat Zion Synagogue in Santa Monica, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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5 Responses to Kristallnacht

  1. Yasmeen Chaya says:

    reading this just makes me cry. i wonder how my grand-parents and great-grandparents have felt during this night – they won't talk about it.in my home town, there was a beautiful synagogue, see http://www.edwardvictor.com/Images/GrossGerau.jpg it was destroyed during this night. Jews had been living in this town since 1339 when it is recorded that they had to pay "Jew-money" (Judengeld), a tax for being jewish, to the count.those who during Kristallnacht did not get deported, were forced to "clean up the mess" and paint white their facades, and live in their destroyed houses where the heating was turned off (November – the winter had only just begun!). barely a year later, the remnant was deported to Buchenwald and on Nov 7, 1940 the mayor declared the town Jew-free.mine were from the region around Mainz, Speyer, Worms, Wiesbaden – des Müller, Meyer, Hirsch, Katz – and except for 3, all of them were sent to Therezin and Auschwitz, and nobody came back.

  2. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Yasmeen,Thank you so much for sharing. Monique's grandparents were also Holocaust survivors. Let's keep the memories of our families and our people alive, and never forget! Zichronam livracha.

  3. Dan Benzvi says:

    a couple of years ago on our way to Israel we were sitting waiting for the flight from Frankfurt to Tel-Aviv. It was time for Maariv prayer and about twenty or so Orthodox and chasidic Jews got up and started davening. I was thinking, just a few years ago they would have put all those Jews in the camps, and now they pray to our God in Jewish garb and siddurs in hand in the midst of them, in their country…I jumped up and joind my brothers in praying,

    good post rebjosh.

    • Rabbi Joshua says:

      Shalom Dan,

      True … I had similar thoughts on my most recent trip to Germany.

      And yasher koach on jumping in there to daven with them.

  4. Celia Roberts says:

    I am a committed Christian and I love and support Israel and the Jewish people wholeheartedly. I was privileged to be raised by parents who both served in the Navy right after the war, and were intelligent and brave enough to teach us the truth. I proudly wear my Star of David every single day, everywhere I go. Yeshua is Jewish and I am an heir to the promises God made to Abraham. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. I bless Israel.

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