On November 9th and 10th 1938, a pogrom organised by the Nazi Party across Germany and Austria led to over 1,200 synagogues being desecrated. Thousands of Jewish businesses were attacked while 90 people were killed and over 25,000 Jewish men were deported to concentration camps at Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen (where hundreds would die).
The November pogrom is seen by many as marking the beginning of the Holocaust; it triggered major policy changes as the Nazi regime began to pursue more aggressive measures against the Jews, which were nonetheless presented as ‘lawful’.
Alfred Wiener had been documenting Nazi crimes since 1933, and used his unrivalled network of contacts to collect over 350 eye-witness accounts of the events in cities, towns and villages throughout Germany and Austria. These accounts took a number of different forms, including face-to face and telephone interviews, letters, written reports and newspaper articles.
These extraordinary and powerful testimonies, translated into English for the first time in this book, reveal the numerous ways in which ordinary Jewish men and women experienced and responded to these attacks. Some are angry, some beg for help, others are defiant; their voices vividly bring to life the destruction that followed.
Edited by Ruth Levitt, Pogrom – November 1938: Testimonies from ‘Kristallnacht’ is supported by scholarly essays that set the events in a historical and international context, previously unseen archive photographs and a detailed glossary, allowing readers to penetrate the heart of Nazi terror and shed new light on the nature and depths of Nazi evil.
Pogrom – November 1938: Testimonies from ‘Kristallnacht’ is published in association with The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, the world’s leading, and oldest, archive of material related to the Holocaust and the Nazi era. Founded in 1933, the Library is a living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and acts as a library of record for understanding the Holocaust and its historical context through an active educational programme.
“There are horrific ‘treasures’ in this collection that gives a voice to Jews who suffered Nazi persecution… lends it a terrible immediacy… One would not wish all history books to be like this, but we should be glad that this one exists.”
“The publication in English of these remarkable documents is a great service to students and scholars alike. The Nazi attack on Germany and Austria’s Jewish citizens, here laid bare, should give us pause for thought today when extremist ideologies are again making themselves heard.”
Professor Dan Stone, Royal Holloway, University of London
“This landmark publication reminds us that racism, antisemitism and intolerance can tear communities apart. The cruelty and suffering that neighbour can inflict on neighbour highlights the urgency of the challenge facing us to build and strengthen solidarity among our fellow citizens.”
The Rev Giles Fraser
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