Alfonzo Kristallnacht Reading Questions.docx -...

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Kristallnacht: The Beginning of the Holocaust Known as the “night of broken glass,” Kristallnacht was a sudden and widespread assault on Jews and their property in Germany prior to World War II. It was the first widespread use of massive force against Jews by the Nazi regime. The attack legitimized violence against Jews by the German state and foreshadowed Adolf Hitler’s later attempts to exterminate European Jews through the so-called “Final Solution.” The violence of Kristallnacht took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. The impetus for the attack stemmed from the assassination of a German government official in the French Embassy. Herschel Grynspan, a 17- year-old Jewish refugee then living in Paris, had recently learned that his parents had been deported. Angered by the treatment of his parents by the Nazis, Grynspan decided to strike back at Germany. He entered the French Embassy and attempted to shoot the German ambassador to France; however, he missed the ambassador and instead killed Ernst von Rath, the third secretary in the German legation. After learning of the news, the German government whipped up public anti-Semitism. Joseph Goebbels, the public minister of information for the Nazi regime, organized a widespread pogrom against German Jews. A special unit of the Nazi political machine, known as the Sturmabteilung (SA), led groups of civilians

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