The Night of Broken GlassEyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht
The Night of Broken Glass
Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht

November 9th 1938 is widely seen as a violent turning point in Nazi Germany’s assault on the Jews.  An estimated 400 Jews lost their lives in the anti-Semitic pogrom and more than 30,000 were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps, where many were brutally mistreated.  Thousands more fled their homelands in Germany and Austria, shocked by what they had seen, heard and experienced.  What they took with them was not only the pain of saying farewell but also the memory of terrible scenes: attacks by mobs of drunken Nazis, public humiliations, burning synagogues, inhuman conditions in overcrowded prison cells and concentration camp barracks.  The reactions of neighbours and passersby to these barbarities ranged from sympathy and aid to scorn, mockery, and abuse.

In 1939 the Harvard sociologist Edward Hartshorne gathered eyewitness accounts of the Kristallnacht from hundreds of Jews who had fled, but Hartshorne joined the Secret Service shortly afterwards and the accounts he gathered were forgotten – until now.  These eyewitness testimonies – published here for the first time with a Foreword by Saul Friedländer, the Pulitzer Prize historian and Holocaust survivor – paint a harrowing picture of everyday violence in one of Europe’s darkest moments.

This unique and disturbing document will be of great interest to anyone interested in modern history, Nazi Germany and the historical experience of the Jews.

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  • June 2012 (hb)
    September 2021 (pb)
  • 360 pages
  • 160 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $74.95
  • 9780745650845
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9780745650852
Table of Contents

Editorial Note and Acknowledgements vii

Foreword Saul Friedländer x

Introduction Thomas Karlauf: Thus Ended My Life in Germany' 1

Part I The Terror 17

Hugo Moses 19

Siegfried Merecki 36

Rudolf Bing 56

Toni Lessler 65

Sofoni Herz 72

'Aralk' 82

Marie Kahle 88

Part II In The Camps 93

Karl E. Schwabe 95

Gertrud Wickerhauser Lederer 110

Karl Rosenthal 115

Georg Abraham 135

Hertha Nathorff 148

Carl Hecht 165

Ernst Bellak 174

Part III Before Emigration 179

Martin Freudenheim 181

Alice Bärwald 183

Siegfried Wolff 187

Margarete Neff 194

Fritz Rodeck 208

Fritz Goldberg 228

Harry Kaufman 231

Afterword Uta Gerhardt: Nazi Madness 236

Notes 261

Bibliography 275

About the Author

Uta Gerhardt is a German sociologist and professor emeritus at the University of Heidelberg. She studied sociology, philosophy and history at the universities of Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. In 1969, she obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Konstanz.

Thomas Karlauf is a literary agent and author.

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"An exceptional array of eyewitness accounts ... this fascinating collection honours the Holocaust's victims, as well as the sociologist who preserved their memories."
Times Literary Supplement

"A fantastic asset for Holocaust historiography."
European Review of History

"This riveting book prints a collection of 21 eyewitness accounts by German Jews. The value of these testimonies lies above all in their detail and immediacy. Mostly they confirm the picture we already have from other sources, though few are as vivid as these."
The Guardian

"Provides heartrending testimony of Nazi racial hatred."

"Taken together, these survivors’ voices bring the focus back onto what is essential: human lives, their preservation and loss."
Forward Magazine

"This collection of eyewitness accounts of the end of Jewish life in Nazi Germany
is most valuable as an undergraduate course reading, where its immediacy and
personal detail can bring home the horrors which preceded the Holocaust."
European History Quarterly

"There are few more powerful or moving collections of testimonies from the Jewish victims of the Nazi pogrom of 9-10 November 1938. This is an extraordinary collection that conveys the full extent of Nazi brutality towards Jews even before the 'Final Solution' had begun."
Richard J Evans, Regius Professor of history at the University ofCambridgeand author of The Third Reich at War

"The testimonies about the pogrom of November 9 and 10, 1938 and its sequels, assembled in this volume, describe what the authors deemed to be the height of Nazi barbarism. In reality, these events were but the faintest of preludes to what was about to happen to the Jews in Germany and in occupied Europe. Nonetheless, these reports carry a poignancy of their own that overwhelmingly evokes the suffocating and terror filled atmosphere of Jewish everyday existence in the Reich during those November days and the immediate pre-war months."
Saul Friedlander, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945

"What sets this anthology, edited by German sociologist Uta Gerhardt and literary agent Thomas Karlauf, apart from other firsthand accounts is the immediacy of the testimonies. All of the accounts reveal the degree to which their authors were traumatized by their experiences."
S.Ross Doughty, Ursinus College

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