Kristallnacht Research Paper

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Assessment Task Individual History Essay “Kristallnacht was the most significant anti-Semitic event of the 1930s.” How valid is this statement? On the 7th of November in 1938 German diplomat Ernst Vom Rath was assassinated in Paris by the Jewish teenager Herschel Grynszpan who was angry about the expulsion of Jewish people from Germany to Poland. After Ernst Vom Rath died two days later, Nazi soldiers launched Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass, which was a planned attack on Jewish communities in Germany. The attack continued to the next day and resulted in many synagogues destroyed and thousands of people sent to some of the first concentration camps of World War 2 . It is valid to suggest that Kristallnacht was the most significant anti-Semitic…show more content…
On the night of the 9th of November in 1938, throughout Austria and Germany, anti-Semitic people began to destroy, loot and, in particular, set fire to Jewish businesses and synagogues. Amongst those involved in the riots were citizens, Hitler Youth and Nazi Storm Troopers. Not only were buildings demolished but Jewish people, mainly men, were arrested and one US officer in the German city of Leipzig described what he saw in a report, saying that “Having demolished dwellings and hurled most of the moveable effects to the streets, the insatiably sadistic perpetrators threw many of the trembling inmates into a small stream that flows through the zoological park, commanding horrified spectators to spit at them, defile them with mud and jeer at their plight.” That night almost 100 Jewish people were killed in the riots in Austria and Germany and at the end 30, 000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps. One reason why Kristallnacht was deemed so violent was because of the drastic change from repressive policies to outright violent attacks. The torching of homes and businesses was made far worse by the fire fighters and police being given orders which said they were not to help Jewish buildings if they were on fire, only to help if non-Jewish residences were in danger. Jewish businesses that weren’t totally…show more content…
Kristallnacht was so significant because there was limited open disagreement and most people supported the actions because of historical norms that meant that such an action wasn’t unusual. Which then ‘set the scene’ for later lack of disagreement. This was mainly because some people did not see any difference in the current situation from historical events and others were afraid of the consequences of disagreeing with the Nazis. In Europe there had been a history of discrimination against the Jews. Many European countries had laws and policies restricting Jewish immigration and citizenship that had been in place for centuries. People weren’t surprised by Kristallnacht because of the more recent Pogroms in the Russian Empire. The Jews had been victims of pogroms since the late 1800s and more recent ones in the 1900s and the 1920s which led many people to believe that it was a normal and acceptable occurrence. For the people that did not believe in the Nazi ideologies, their main reason for not outwardly opposing Kristallnacht was fear. If they disagreed and openly opposed the Nazi actions they could face social exclusion, disadvantage and in some cases imprisonment or death. This lack of outward disagreement meant that later when the persecution became more serious people did not speak out against

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