November 10 - 1938 - Kristallnacht

"Kristallnacht" is German for "Crystal night" and it would also become known as the "Night of Broken Glass," all of which referred to the shards of broken glass from shop windows that lay throughout German cities. Kristallacht specifically targeted the Jewish population in Germany. The trigger for the actions of Kristallnacht was the assassination of German Embassy official Ernst vom Rath in Paris by Herschel Grynzspan, who wanted to shoot a Nazi for the mass deportation of Polish Jews, including Grynzspan's parents, less than two weeks earlier. When Adolf Hitler found out about vom Rath's death, Hitler left the dinner party he was throwing. Then Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said the riots that would take place should not be stopped. More specifically, the head of the secret police, Reinhard Heydrich, sent a telegram throughout Germany spelling out the exact orders for all German policemen. The result was that the state allowed the destruction of 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses, hundreds of synagogues, and untold Jewish homes. Some 30,000 young Jewish men were arrested and sent to labor camps. Most importantly, Kristallnacht signaled that the Nazi regime was entirely capable of genocide.

William Floyd