photography by swartz



4. Kristallnacht


On the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a massive program of arson, murder, and riots against the Jews throughout Germany and Austria. During Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, over 1,000 synagogues were set ablaze; Jewish homes were ransacked; 7,500 Jewish businesses were vandalized and looted; and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to the concentration camps at Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachenhausen. The Jews were blamed for the destruction and were responsible for cleaning up the rubble of the shattered shopwindows. Gring decreed that "the Jews as a punishment for their abominable crimes" were to be fined $400 million Reichmarks for the repair of the damaged homes, shops, and synagogues.

This image shows the destruction of the famous synagogue at Baden-Baden during the night of November 9, 1938. Kristallnacht represents the final shattering of Jewish life in Germany and a turning point in the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

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Last modified: 07/15/03