November 9, 1938: The beginning of the systematic pogroms against the Jews by the Nazi regime begins with Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. Hitler came to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and began his attack against the Jews almost immediately by enacting many restrictive laws. In 1935, The Nuremburg Laws went into effect depriving Jews of German citizenship. By the next year, Jews were banned from any elective process. “Jews Not Welcome” signs were plastered everywhere, but they sensitively came down for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Jews from Poland but living in Germany were deported and all their possessions were kept by the German state. Poland refused entry and so “relocation camps” were set up on the border. Zindel Grynszpan was one of the deported Jews. His son, living in Paris with an uncle, was outraged. He went to the embassy on November 7 intent on killing the German Ambassador to France. He was out and so the seventeen-year-old shot the Third Secretary, Ernst von Rath, who died on November 9.
Joseph Goebbels used this as an excuse to begin the pogrom. For two nights mobs went wild. Nearly 100 Jews were killed and hundreds more were injured. Between 1000 and 2000 synagogues were burned and 7,500 businesses were destroyed, glass shattered and littering the streets. Cemeteries and schools were vandalized. Around 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
The Nazis claimed it was a spontaneous outpouring of hate toward the inflammatory Jews and so they instituted even more restrictive laws. All precious metals, stocks, bonds, jewelry, and art would be confiscated by the German state. Jews were segregated and were unable to own radios or even carrier pigeons. Curfews were enforced. Of course, they could not own any weapons. Kristallnacht, literally Crystal Night, was a mocking term employed for the devastation, just one more way to debase the Jews.
“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” – Eldridge Cleaver
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” – Herman Hesse
“Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.” – Richard M. Nixon
“End discrimination. Hate everybody.” – unknown
Also on this day, in 1872 the Great Boston Fire ripped through Boston.