The Holocaust Through Primary Sources

Kristallnacht
The Nazi Terror that Began the Holocaust

 

 

Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terror that Began the Holocaust discusses Kristallnacht, a four-day pogrom instigated by the Nazis against Germany's Jews, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust.

The book also features stories from the victims, witnesses and perpetrators of the attack: 

>Herschel Grynszpan (whose assassination of a German official in Paris provided Nazi officials with the excuse for increased violence against Jews), 

>Joseph Goebbels (the Nazi's minister for propaganda and public enlightenment who helped direct the pogrom), 

>Hannele Zürndorfer (who experienced Kristallnacht in a suburb of Düsseldorf and was sent on the kindertransport to England), 

>Fred Spiegel (who experienced Kristallnacht in Dinslaken and survived the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen), 

>Ernest Fontheim (who experienced Kristallnacht in Berlin and survived a slave-labor factory), 

>Marianne Strauss (who experienced Kristallnacht in Essen and lived in hiding throughout the war), 

>Jurgen Herbst (who witnessed Kristallnacht as a German Christian and later joined the Hitler Youth movement and the German military before renouncing his past), 

>Arnold Blum (who experienced Kristallnacht in Stuttgart and then emigrated to America to become a soldier and fight the Nazis), 

>Alfred Werner (who experienced Kristallnacht in Vienna, Austria, and was incarcerated at Dachau before emigrating to the United States), and 

>Albert Fuchs (a lawyer who experienced Kristallnacht in Karlsruhe and escaped to the safety of France before emigrating with his family to Canada). 

Each chapter includes compelling, emotional primary source passages (often in the first person).


Review in Booklist (October 1, 2011):

Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terror That Began the Holocaust. "Personal testimony is a powerful way to tell history, especially if there is no rambling repetition, and these accounts in the Holocaust through Primary Sources series are tightly edited, drawing on the memories of victims, perpetrators, and witnesses who were at the Night of Broken Glass in 1938. The viewpoints are from children, adults, Jews, and Nazis who saw homes, businesses, and synagogues destroyed, and people beaten, murdered, and deported to concentration camps. Each chapter blends an individual’s testimony with historical background and commentary as well as photos of the witness and of the brutal events. One chapter is on Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, with quotes from his diary about how he directed the pogrom. But most accounts are about ordinary people: a teen in Hitler Youth; an assimilated Jewish boy in Berlin, who watched his world burn down and survived the transports and the camps; a girl thrown out of school, who saw her home destroyed and escaped on a Kindertransport to England. A time line, chapter notes, a bibliography, and suggested websites for further research close."

Review in TriState Reviews (TriState Young Adult Review Committee in PA, DE, and NJ; February 7, 2012):

"Through first hand accounts, the first terrible night of violence against Jews in Nazi Germany is recounted. ...what makes this book exceptional is that it is written for the tween student in the voice of the subjects about whom the book is about. First hand accounts, memoirs verbal and written add such a strong voice to the subject in this book and make for compelling reading for not just the student but anyone who picks up this book to read. The black and white imagery throughout the text keeps it in the period, and narratives are written in a ‘handwriting’ font which also keeps the context of the book intact. Sidebars throughout the book serve to emphasize specific occurrences such as “Kristallnacht instructions for Gestapo and state police”, page 36 and “A German firefighter remembers”, page 79. The book concludes with a timeline, chapter notes, a glossary, further reading and an index."

VOYA (April 2012)

". . . an excellent series to supplement a Holocaust collection. The series personalizes the Holocaust by presenting history through the eyes of the people who lived it . . . The series is a good introduction to the Holocaust and will encourage students of history to delve deeper."

Library Media Connection (November/December 2011)

"This new series packs an emotional punch as it disseminates historical facts from multiple perspectives . . . These unique perspectives lend an authenticity and immediacy to these stories that can rarely be achieved through traditional nonfiction."

 

 

 

 

 

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