Kristallnacht was the cataclysmic event of November 9, 1938, that effectively terminated the 2,000-year-long history of Jews in Germany.
A program memorializing this tragic event will be presented by Chevra Ahavas Chesed, Inc. of Baltimore, on November 13, 2005…but first, the story:
Jews had lived in Germany from the time of the Romans; records exist of a thriving Jewish community in the city of Cologne in the year 321 C.E. By 1938, a year before the onset of World War II, Jews constituted only .8 percent of the total population in Germany, some 540 thousand Jews living among 65 million Germans.
On the evening of November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms against Germany’s Jews. Organized groups of party thugs attacked Jewish homes, and in the space of a few hours, hundreds of synagogues with their holy books, ritual objects, and Torah scrolls were set on fire throughout Germany. Storefronts of Jewish businesses were smashed and their contents looted. Almost 7,500 businesses were destroyed. Cemeteries and schools were vandalized. Thousands of Jews were brutally beaten, and about 100 were killed. At least 30,000 Jewish men were sent to Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald concentration camps. This included the writer of these lines, who was sent to Dachau as a sixteen-year-old.