The night of crystal or shattered glass, better known as Kristallnacht, turned 85 on Thursday. A simple yet sad reality was conveyed by many who recalled the crimes of that day: anti-semitic violence is still evident in the world today.
On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the Nazi dictatorship launched a series of orchestrated pogroms against Jewish communities. Following the murder of German diplomat Ernst Eduard vom Rath in Paris by Polish Jewish youth Herschel Grynszpan, the Nazis rationalized their widespread assaults.
Nazi Minister of Publicity Joseph Goebbels addressed a meeting of party leaders shortly after the killing. He laid the blame for Grynszpan’s last-ditch effort on World Jewry, saying Hitler had decided that demonstrations should not be organized or connected to his Party, but if violence should erupt spontaneously, they shouldn’t be “hindered.”
Jewish houses, stores, and synagogues were attacked and destroyed by the Sturmabteilung and the Hitler Youth between the evening of November 9 and the morning of November 10. Despite their claims of spontaneity, they carefully targeted only Jewish-owned buildings in Germany, destroyed just those, and handed over all synagogue records to the Security Service.
Around 30,000 Jews were explicitly jailed for being Jewish as the violence grew. More than 1,300 synagogues and Jewish cemeteries were damaged or destroyed, and over 7,000 Jewish-owned enterprises went under. At least 91 Jews were reportedly slain in Germany during Kristallnacht. Recent calculations, however, suggest a higher actual figure.
The Holocaust Encyclopedia notes that in the days and weeks after the tragedy, there was an upsurge in the number of rapes and suicides documented by authorities.
On the eve of the 85th anniversary of that terrible night, Hamas terrorists stormed Israel, murdering innocent people and sexually abusing women and girls. Those who remember Kristallnacht’s importance see parallels between then and now.
Speaking for the Israeli government, Eylon Levy related the account of a Holocaust survivor who narrowly avoided being killed in the October 7 murder carried out by Hamas.
Hamas militants killed or kidnapped the survivor’s loved ones.