The Night of Broken Glass by Uta Gerhardt
Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht

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The value of these testimonies lies above all in their detail and immediacy.


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.


About Uta Gerhardt

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Uta Gerhardt is director of the Medical Sociology Unit at Justus Liebig University, Giessen. She has taught sociology at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Konstanz, the University of California at Berkeley, the San Francisco Medical School, the University of London, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The present volume comes out of her sabbatical year as Research Affiliate of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, of Harvard University. Susan Hancock is a proponent of child safety and character education, teaching elementary and secondary education for more than 30 years. As a lecturer and motivational speaker, she taught hundreds of church and civic groups. Hancock worked in the research and editing of both fiction and historical literary works. Robert Simmons has worked in animation for various studios including Disney, Don Bluth Studios, Warner Brothers, and DreamWorks. Simmons has been involved in the production of "The Land Before Time," "All Dogs Go To Heaven," "Rock-A-Doodle," "Prince of Egypt," "Joseph, King of Dreams," and "Spirit." Other notable credits include graphic design and commercial art for major corporations including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Paramount, Warner Brothers, and PBS.
Published June 11, 2012 by Polity. 360 pages
Genres: History, Travel.
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Reviewed by Richard J Evans on Apr 11 2012

The value of these testimonies lies above all in their detail and immediacy.

Read Full Review of The Night of Broken Glass: Ey... | See more reviews from Guardian

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