KRISTALLNACHT: The Tragedy of the Nazi Night of Terror by Anthony & David Fisher Read

KRISTALLNACHT: The Tragedy of the Nazi Night of Terror

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comprehensive study of the infamous Nazi rampage against Jews that shocked much of the free world in November 1938 and whose 50th anniversary was recently observed. For the most part, British historians Fisher and Read (Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939-1941, 1988; etc.) handle their volatile material effectively, if without great liveliness or tension. The authors frame their shocking narrative with the story of 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan, whose murder of Nazi functionary Ernst vom Rath in Paris provided the excuse for the pogrom that came to be called ""Kristallnacht."" In the early morning hours of November 9-10, Jews throughout the Third Reich were murdered, terrorized, their homes and businesses ransacked, their synagogues put to the torch, in what Nazi officialdom insisted was a ""spontaneous demonstration"" of outrage at vom Rath's murder. Grynszpan acted out of a need to revenge the persecution of his family, and the story of his crime, capture, trial, incarceration, and possible eventual fate is an intriguing one. Also investigated here are the probable economic factors involved in the Kristallnacht debacle, and the international reaction (and lack of reaction) to the event, including various attempts to repatriate German Jews, such as a heartless scheme to set up a kind of penal colony for them in Madagascar. Fisher and Read have been indefatigable in their research, interviewing survivors, unearthing previously unpublished documents. The result is a heartbreaking and often infuriating look at events of a half-century ago.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1989
Publisher: Times Books