Remembering "Night of the broken glass" - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Remembering "Night of the broken glass"

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Few of the 4,000 daily visitors at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum knew, Thursday, that, in a downstairs auditorium packed with VIP's, an audience was listening intently to three women who survived Kristellnacht -- the night of the broken glass.

It happened 75 years ago in Germany. Over a two-night (and, in some places, a three-night) period, rampaging gangs of Nazis terrorized Jewish citizens. Dozens were murdered.

Susan Taube, then a child, remembers seeing her neighborhood synagogue burning. Then the Nazis started attacking individual shops and homes, including hers. "[They] broke down the door," recalled Taube. "And just came in with knives and axes... and started to demolish everything in the apartment."

Those synagogues that weren't burned were defaced, often with axes. Susan Warsinger remembers, in her building, witnessing the Nazi attackers pursue a rabbi. Warsinger told the audience at the museum: "Two S.A. officers were holding [the rabbi] on each side of his arm[s]... And then [someone] came along and pulled him by the beard, and cut off his beard with a scissor."

After the Nazis came to power, Jews were restricted from universities, and their travel was limited. They were even forbidden from sitting on public benches. The violence of Krystallnacht pushed the persecution ot a new level.

After Jewish businesses and homes were ransacked, Jill Pauly remembered, it was very hard to rebuild: "The Jews always had to pay double for everything, including the repair."

Krystallnacht was only the beginning. Within a few years, the Nazis built 400 concentration camps across occupied Europe. Six million Jews were killed.

The three witnesses to Krystallnacht (who spoke Thursday) eventually escaped Germany. Before leaving the Holocaust Memorial Museum, they lit candles of remembrance for those who did not escape.

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