Commemorating the "Night of Broken Glass"

9 November 2017

The date of 9 November 1938 is synonymous with fear and terror. On this night Nazi storm troopers (known as the SA) and the SS torched synagogues across Germany. The German government supports and promotes the remembrance of the "Night of Broken Glass".

Memorial in Leipzig Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/ Uta Poss) On that night Jewish-owned businesses were plundered, the homes of Jewish citizens destroyed, their inhabitants abused, and a substantial number of them arrested and killed.

That marked the start of a process that would lead to the murder or millions, the rupture with civilisation that was the Holocaust or Shoah. 9 November became a day of shame and disgrace.

This year, the Federal Ministry of Justice is holding a special event to commemorate the former users of the building in Berlin’s Mohrenstraße 37/38, which today houses the ministry.

Before the Second World War, the building was home to 59 fashion centres. The nearby Hausvogteiplatz was the heart of the German fashion scene – until the Nazis confiscated the property of the mostly Jewish businesspeople, persecuted them and murdered many of them.

Research scientists from Berlin’s Humboldt University have investigated the fates of these businesspeople and their families on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Justice. On the evening of 9 November this year, they will present the results of their work.

For Chancellor Merkel 9 November 1938 is synonymous with the darkest chapter of German history. The anti-Jewish pogroms of the "Night of Broken Glass" remind us, she said, "that we must always be aware of our past so that we can shape the future responsibly".

© Federal Government