Today, November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht – Germany’s War on Jews Erupts in Violence

On November 11, 1918, Germany surrenders, ending World War I.

In April 1921, France and Great Britain demand that Germany pay for the damages incurred during the Great War. The payment demand was for $33 billion and it resulted in the immediate inflation of German currency causing economic ruination throughout Germany.

On July 29, 1921, Adolf Hitler is elected to the leadership of the National Socialist Party (Nazi) of Germany.

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By 1922, the German Deutschmark had devalued to roughly 400 per US dollar.

In January 1923, the German Deutschmark had dropped in value to 18,000 per US dollar.

In July 1923, the German Deutschmark dropped in value to 160,000 per US dollar.

In August 1923, the German Deutschmark dropped in value to 1,000,000 per US dollar.

In November 1923, the German Deutschmark drooped even further to 4,000,000 per US dollar, furthering the economic collapse of Germany. Workers received wages in paper currency that was worthless. Simple groceries cost billions of Deutschmarks resulting in mass hunger and riots.

On November 8-9, 1923, Hitler launched his plan (the Beer House Putsch) to take over the government of Bavaria. Hitler blames Jews, among others, as the cause of much of Germany’s problems.

On September 14, 1930, many Nazi Party members are elected to Germany’s government, making the party the 2nd largest in the nation.

On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

On March 23, 1933, the German government passes the Enabling Act, giving Hitler absoluter dictatorial powers.

On April 1, 1933, German Nazis begin boycotting stores and businesses owned by Jews.

In June 1933, Germany’s Nazi government opens the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

On July 14, 1933, the Nazi Party is declared to be the only legal political party in the nation.

On October 14, 1933, Germany leaves the League of Nations.

On July 25, 1934, Nazis capture and assassinated Engelbert Dollfuss, the Chancellor of Austria.

On August 19, 1934, Hitler becomes Führer (leader) of Germany.

On September 15, 1935, Nazi Germany passes the Nuremberg Race Laws which strip away the rights of Jews.

On February 10, 1936, Hitler’s Gestapo is given authority over police and the law.

On October 27, 1838, Hitler ordered all Polish-born Jews to leave the country. The order affected between 12,000 to over 15,000 Jews. Among them was the family of 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan.

On November 3, 1938, Grynszpan received a letter from his sister explaining that the family had been exiled from Germany. At the time, Grynszpan was a student studying in Paris.

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan went to the German Embassy in Paris with the intention of assassinating the German ambassador. However, he only managed to shoot and kill the Third Secretary of the German Embassy.

On November 8, 1938, newspapers across Germany carried the story of the Paris murder and labeled all Jews as murderers.

On this day, November 9, 1939, Germany erupts in violent protests and riots against the Jews, whom Hitler continually blames for all of Germany’s problems. Nazi propaganda also used Grynazpan’s murder of the German diplomat, to fuel their anti-Semitic hatred.

Mobs of Germans, including Nazi storm troopers, members of the Hitler Youth and the SS, took to the streets of Germany. They targeted stores and businesses owned by Jews. Windows were broken and stores looted. They also targeted Jewish homes, schools and synagogues, smashing their windows, breaking in and looting as much as they could. Jewish women were attacked, beaten and raped. Jewish children were also attacked and brutalized. At least 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and shipped to concentration camps after many were beaten. Most of them ended up being murdered in the concentration camps. Nearly 100 Jews were killed during the riots, which continued into the next day.

The night quickly became known as ‘Kristallnacht’ which translates ‘Night of Crystal’ or ‘Night of Broken Glass.’ The anti-Semitic violence prompted over 100,000 Jews to leave Germany as treatment of Jews worsened.

Eventually, Hitler announced his Final Solution which meant the extermination of every Jew in Germany and German occupied lands including Poland. This led to the murder of over 6 million Jews.


Sources for the above includes: World War II: Timeline; World War II in Europe; Kristallnacht; Events Leading Up to Kristallnacht; Nazis Launch Kristallnacht; Kristallnacht; Kristallnacht; Kristallnacht: Background & Overview; Kristallnacht; The “Night of Broken Glass”; The “Final Solution”


Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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