Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass

Kristallnacht — the Night of Broken Glass

On November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a series of riots against the Jews in Germany and Austria. In the space of a few hours, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed. For the first time, tens of thousands of Jews were sent to concentration camps simply because they were Jewish.  This event came to be called Kristallnacht (“Night of the Broken Glass”) for the shattered store windowpanes that carpeted German streets.

“Those that do not learn history are forced to repeat it.” Never forget.


A massive, coordinated attack on Jews throughout the German Reich on the night of November 10, 1938, has come to be known as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. The mob violence broke out as the regular German police stood by and crowds of spectators watched. Nazi storm troopers along with members of the SS and the Hitler Youth beat and murdered Jews, broke into and wrecked Jewish homes, and brutalized Jewish women and children. All over Germany, Austria, and other Nazi-controlled areas, Jewish shops and department stores had their windows smashed and contents destroyed. Synagogues were also especially targeted for vandalism, including the desecration of sacred Torah scrolls.

SS leader Reinhard Heydrich reported on the 12th that 7,500 businesses had been destroyed, 267 synagogues burned and 91 Jews killed. About 25,000 Jewish men were rounded up and later sent to concentration camps where they were often brutalized by SS guards and in some cases randomly chosen to be beaten to death. The Night of Broken Glass starkly signaled a movement towards the Final Solution, a systematic program of genocide designed to annihilate every Jew in Europe. By John Stendahl, Senior Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Newtons, Newton Center, Massachusetts


I need some information on Kristalnacht, but I have barely found any. Do you know where I can find information on Kristalnacht?

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

I am one of the persons at the Holocaust History Project who responds to questions asked by students Take a look at the following web-pages. There is an enormous amount of information on Kristalnacht on the Internet:

Finally, please see the material available at the excellent Mining Co. site:

I hope that this information is what you are seeking.

Harry W. Mazal OBE


Did Kristallnacht happen in the Ghetto or did it happen in a town? (in Schindler’s List, it appears to happen in the Ghetto)

Yale F. Edeiken answers:

Hello. I am one of the people who answers questions for the Holocaust History Project.

Kristallnacht, which occurred on the night of November 10, 1938, took place throughout Germany.

It was a general riot planned and executed by the Nazi government and was an attack on Jews and Jewish businesses wherever they were found.

Yale F. Edeiken
The Holocaust History Project

Another Question

Hello, I have an essay to do on the significance of kristellnacht in regards to the holocaust. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on this or could recommend any site that covered this topic. thankyou for your time.

Yale F. Edeiken answers:

Kristallnacht was one of the most significant events leading to the Holocaust. Prior to Kristallnacht the persecution of the Jews was mostly in the form of legal and social restrictions not very different from the laws persecuting Blacks in the American South. Kristallnacht was the beginning of the open use of violence by the state to persecute Jews. As such it was one of the crucial events leading up to the genocide of the Holocaust.

There are several good books, which you can find in our Bibiliography in the “short essays” section of our website. There are good accounts in every general history of the Holocaust as well. I would suggest reading the comprehensive coverage in Martin Gilbert’s “The Holocaust” as a good introduction to Kristallnacht. It contains not only the historical reality of Kristallnacht but extensive accounts from witnesses and victims.

–Yale F. Edeiken
The Holocaust History Project

5 thoughts on “Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass

  1. i had to right an essa 4 law and this web page helped me a lot like seriously i used this and one other site for every thing and the one other site was only for a couple of things any ways great site

  2. i have to write a essay for ela class about the night of the broken glass and i have had alot of great things i can use i going to use this site (great site)

  3. Hi Kara,
    I’m happy this info helped you. Kristallnacht was something I just learned about recently – didn’t know about it before. I found out about it while doing research about Martin Luther (the 16th century German Protestant reformer). If you search my site you will find additional information on Luther and the connection to Kristallnacht.

    I have to say, it was QUITE a shock for me. Being raised Lutheran, it was earth shattering to learn of Luther’s anti-semitic writings and how they were used as a basis for Kristallnacht.

    I really cannot describe in words my feelings about this. It is so dark and repulsive. But it’s important we know about these things so we can keep them from happening again…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *