Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass: Igniting the Nazi War Against Jews

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass: Igniting the Nazi War Against Jews

Stephanie Fitzgerald
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 to 12
Compass Point Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0756534899

The night that came to be called Kristallnacht did not happen just out of the blue. From the very beginning of his rise to power Adolf Hilter hated the Jews and blamed them for many of Germany's problems. With every passing month the Jews in Germany had more of their civil rights taken away from them. Germans were discouraged from patronizing their businesses, books by Jewish writers were burned, and Jewish doctors had their medical certification cancelled.

In October of 1938 12,000 Jews were deported to a town in Poland. A German Jew called Herschel Grynszpan, who was living in Paris at the time, was horrified to hear of these atrocities. He bought a gun and went to the German Embassy where he shot a German diplomat. This act of vengeance ended up costing the Jews in Germany more than anyone could have imagined because Hilter used this event to stir up further hatred of the Jews. Hitler and his supporters publicly blamed all Jews for the death of the diplomat and with great care they set the stage for what was to come.

Encouraged and enflamed by the authorities, Germans took to the streets on the night of November 9th, 1938 and they proceeded to burn and destroy Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues. More than one hundred Jews were killed, and for many it was a night of terror.

In this excellent "Snapshots in History" title Stephanie Fitzgerald not only describes what took place on Kristallnacht but she also gives her readers a comprehensive description of the events which led up to this awful event. Using first hand accounts the author breaths life into this terrible story and she provides her readers with plenty of background material so that they can fully understand the historical significance of the Nazi attacks on Jews in Europe before and during World War II.