Kristallnacht, Exhibition by the Shoah Memorial
On the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust, UNESCO will host “Kristallnacht”, an exhibition from the Shoah Memorial. The exhibition tells the history of the 9 November 1938 pogrom across Nazi Germany, annexed Austria, and in occupied areas of the Sudetenland. The year 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
On “Kristallnacht” (sometimes referred to as the Night of Broken Glass), a wave of violence against Jews broke out in Germany and Austria on 9 to 10 November 1938. The metaphoric name refers to the many pieces of broken glass from windows that were smashed during the pogrom. Though the violence was initiated by the Nazi regime, the night of destruction was presented as a spontaneous outbreak of violence in reaction to the assassination of a German embassy employee in Paris by a young Polish Jewish man from Germany on 7 November 1938. By provoking this anti-Semitic violence, the Nazis hoped to hasten the migration of Jews, which was considered too slow, despite the implementation of politics of exclusion and persecution since February 1933. Fulfilling the Nazis’ goal, applications for emigration increased significantly after 9 November 1938. But, despite the indignation that the event caused across the world, borders remained closed, revealing the indifference of the international community to the fate of the Jews of Germany and Austria, and the inability of the democratic states to counter the violent path of Hitler's Germany.