Prelude to Destruction
Jewish Shop Windows smashed during Kristallnacht in Berlin, Germany, 1938
Also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht was a massacre of Jews throughout Nazi Germany that began on the night of November 9, 1938. Carried out by paramilitary forces and German civilians, Jewish homes and businesses and schools were ransacked and over 1,000 synagogues were burned while local police authorities looked on without intervening.
"No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday," The New York Times resported.
Economic and political persecution of Jews followed in the aftermath of the attacks. Kristallnacht is viewed by historians as the beginning of Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution" and The Holocaust.