19th Kristallnacht Program
Keynote Speaker Joshua Rubenstein
Caught Between Two Evils
“Kristallnact or Night of Broken Glass”*
In November 1938, mass frenzy broke out in Austria and Germany. Synagogues were destroyed and burned, Jewish homes were assaulted, and Jewish-owned stores were shattered and looted. In many places, Jews were physically attacked. About 30,000 Jews—especially the influential and wealthy—were arrested and were thrown into concentration camps.
This was the first time that riots against the Jews of Germany, accompanied by mass detention, had been organized on such an extensive scale. Though the violent onslaught was officially terminated on November 10, in many places it continued for several days. In Austria, it started only on the morning of November 10 but was particularly fierce.
Every November, people around the world pause to remember Kristallnacht. The name Kristallnacht comes from Kristallglas (beveled plate glass) and refers to the broken shop windows of Jewish stores. (Kristallnacht was the Nazis' first experience of large-scale, anti-Jewish violence. It opened the way for the complete eradication of the Jews' position in Germany.
Source: Yad Vashem
Read a Democrat & Chronicle essay by Jodi Oriel and Charles Theis on Kristallnacht