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Kristallnacht

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burning of a synagogue during Kristallnacht

During the evening of November 9, 1938, the "night of broken glass" many Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes were destroyed by mobs of people fired by propaganda and fueled by their own prejudice and ignorance. It was a massive coordinated attack throughout the German Reich. 

The attack came after Herschel Grynszpan, a 17 year old Jew living in Paris, shot and killed a member of the German Embassy staff there in retaliation for the poor treatment his father and his family suffered at the hands of the Nazis. His family, along with thousands of other Jews, had been transported in boxcars and dumped at the Polish border. 


red dots indicate synagogues burned on the night of Kristallnacht (map Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust)

The German propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, incited Germans to "rise in bloody vengeance against the Jews. Mob violence broke out as the German police stood by and watched.  Storm troopers and members of the SS beat and murdered Jews along with the mobs. Nearly 1000 synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews rounded up.

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