Eighty-three years ago today, the Nazis of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich perpetrated a crime on the Jewish residents throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia that would subsequently be referred to as “Kristallnacht.” Germany considered this an act of retaliation for the assassination of a German foreign official. Ernst vom Rath had been shot by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew who was upset over the deportation of his family from Germany.

Kristallnacht means Crystal Night or Night of the Broken Glass. On November 9 and 10, approximately 7500 Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were bombed, plundered, and burned. Ninety-one Jews died in the process and over 3,000 were sent to concentration camps. To many historians, this two-day event was the beginning of systematic anti-Semitism and destruction of the Jewish people throughout Europe.

If you’re asking why I mention this date and the events that took place, much of my academic and authorial efforts of the last ten years have focused on World War II and the Holocaust. The historic details are less important than the fact that this was effectively the beginning of Nazi tyranny, making it worthy of reflection and respect.

As I have mentioned in my books and other writing, my dedication to this subject is my contribution toward preventing another Holocaust from ever happening again. It doesn’t need to be the Jews who are persecuted. Any time that we focus on a race, religion, or other category to torment, persecute, and kill, we are recreating the horrors of the World War II Holocaust.

While I cannot undo the events of the past, I can memorialize those who died and continue to remind those who read my work that these events cannot and must not be repeated. We make a mistake when we think of numbers such as six million or 3,000 or any other statistic. These were individual lives of people from the very young to the very old whose lives were ended but must not be forgotten. Shalom.

2 thoughts on “Kristallnacht

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