Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht (or, night of broken glass), which occurred on the night of November 9, 1938. Supposedly as a response to the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, (a German-born Polish Jew), a massive coordinated attack was launched on Jewish businesses and property across Germany. The broken glass reference was to all the windows being broken.
On November 8, Jewish newspapers had been forced to cease publication. The Nazis were moving to deny Jews all rights, and the vom Rath assassination gave them an excuse to move forward, in an outbreak of violence.
Although the Nazis tried to claim that Kristallnacht represented spontaneous rioting on the part of German patriots, it was in fact an organised attack. Stormtroopers (SA) and SS members wearing plain clothes were despatched to create mayhem in Jewish neighbourhoods. They had been ordered not to harm non-Jews.
Two hundred synagogues, more than 7,000 Jewish shops, and 29 department stores were attacked. Some Jews were beaten to death and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps. Some of these men were later allowed to leave the camps on the condition they left Germany permanently.
Image of damage to a department store in Munich, the morning after Kristallnacht.
The foreign press was horrified, and reports such as this one appeared in papers around the world.
Two Munich synagogues were among those destroyed. In fact, the Nazis had started destroying Munich's synagogues in June of that year: leaving only two to be trashed on Kristallnacht.
A short distance from where the original stood, there is a new Jewish Centre and synagogue. This was not opened until 2006. There is also a Jewish museum as part of the same complex. Its modern architecture and geometric shape make a different approach to a house of worship. And the use of so much glass in the cube on top, surely a historic fuck you to the Nazis.