Prelude to Destruction

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
Drawing on eyewitness testimonies and period accounts of the event, a distinguished British historian offers a compelling account of Kristallnacht, the November 1938 rampage by Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth through Jewish neighborhoods throughout Germany, a nationwide destruction that ignited the devastation of the Holocaust.


On November 7, 1938, a young Jew, enraged by his family's expulsion from Germany, walked into the German embassy in Paris and fired five shots at a junior diplomat. Three days later the diplomat was dead, and Germany was in the grips of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence.

In the early hours of November 10, Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods across Germany, leaving behind them a horrifying trail of terror and destruction. More than a thousand synagogues and many thousands of Jewish shops were destroyed, while thirty thousand Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. This was the moment when deliberately inflamed hatreds ignited nationwide destruction.

With rare insight and acumen, Martin Gilbert, one of the leading historians of our time, examines Kristallnacht -- the Night of Broken Glass -- and describes how the rest of the world reacted in its wake. His narration of that night and day of terror is chilling, vividly conveying its scale and intensity through more than fifty previously unpublished eyewitness testimonies and graphic newspaper accounts of the events as they unfolded. No other attack on Jews during the course of the Second World War was as widely reported by contemporary observers.

Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who traced their origins in Germany to Roman times and was a sinister fore-warning of the Holocaust. By setting the tone for the terrible war to follow, it shaped the second half of the twentieth century and continues to haunt us, almost seventy years later. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, this is an eye-opening study of one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Book News
Gilbert, acclaimed Holocaust historian and biographer of Winston Churchill, carefully describes the events surrounding 10 November 1938, when organized bands of Nazis shattered synagogues, shops and homes across Germany and Austria in retaliation for the shooting of a junior diplomat. He builds to the climax of the Night of Shattered Glass with over 50 accounts from eyewitnesses, along with newspaper stories (some of which are shattering in themselves) and official reports, and explains how this night figures in the mass deportations, torture, incarceration and murder that had only started. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Drawing on eyewitness testimonies, offers an account of the November 1938 rampage by Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth through Jewish neighborhoods throughout Germany.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060570835
Characteristics: 314 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 22 cm


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