In October 1938, the Nazis expelled thousands of polish Jews who were living in Germany. However, Poland did not accept them so the people were stranded in a no-man’s land. They were barely surviving under the harshest of conditions in a Polish camp. A 17 year old German born Polish Jew was in Paris at the time and learned his parents were in the camp. The young man became very angry and went to the German embassy in Paris with the intent of killing the German ambassador. But instead of killing the ambassador, he shot Ernst Von Rath, who was the Third Secretary to the ambassador. This was on November 7, 1938. The secretary died two day later on November 9.
The Nazis were waiting for an incident like this to justify an action against the Jews. Hitler gave his storm troopers a free hand against the Jews. When Von Rath died on November 9, they went on a rampage of terror and destruction. Approximately 250 synagogues were set on fire, 815 shops were destroyed, several hundred houses destroyed and 30,000 Jewish men rounded up and sent to concentration camps. This action against the Jews came to be known as Kristallnacht, meaning the “Night of Broken Glass” because the streets were filled with broken glass from the shops and synagogues the Nazis destroyed.
Now for many, this tragic event is only a footnote in the history books. But not so for those who lived through it. They will never forget and neither should we. People who don’t know history, will eventually repeat it. Those of us who are Christians need this understanding so we can stand with our Jewish friends and say, “Never Again.”
Why We Must Never Forget