The Right Coast

November 10, 2005
By Maimon Schwarzschild

Tonight is the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany in 1938: the night of shattered glass, which turned out to be the prologue to the annihilation of the Jews in Nazi Europe.

Here is a good account of what happened, and what the background was.

Here is a more personal account by someone who was a schoolkid in Germany at the time -- with a good summary of what led up to the pogrom, and why it happened when it did.

Here is a map of where synagogues were destroyed that night in Germany.

My grandfather was a staff officer of the national Jewish organization in Germany: just the sort of person the Nazis rounded up that night, and in some cases killed. Somehow he was warned an hour or two in advance, and told that only adult men would be rounded up. He also learned -- I don't know how -- that prominent Jews would be arrested at home, but wouldn't be molested if they were travelling, especially by train. So he spent the night on an intercity train, and returned to Berlin a day or two later. A lucky, weird story that helps account for my existence, I suppose. A lot of people weren't so lucky.