On the night/morning of November 9-10th, 1938, a massive uprising known as a pogrom occurred. Directed at Jews, it was the first of its kind in which the police and other members of authority did nothing to stop, maintaining a passive role. Kristallnacht was the supposed beginning of the end for German Jews - it highlighted the first nationwide action against the religious group, and was the start of the government endorsed campaign of systematic genocide. As these events unfolded, it was almost certain that the population of Germany could foresee what was going to happen, but the extent of persecution was yet to be revealed.
With the NSDAP (Nazi) party leading the German nation, the totalitarian government had been operational for some time now, and the views of this government were instilled into mainstream society. Anti-Semitism was prevalent in all facets of German society during this period, and Jewish boycott and humiliation had been instigated throughout Germany and Austria.
With the assassination of a German national in Paris, the Nazis had the perfect opportunity to begin their coveted 'final solution', and Kristallnacht was the beginning of this. Throughout Kristallnacht, synagogues were burnt, Jewish businesses were ransacked, violence against Jewish-German citizens reached unprecedented levels - but no-one, regardless of conscience, was able to help. As a fireman in Laupheim during Kristallnacht remembers :
"Eventually we were allowed to tale the fire engines outs, but only very slowly. We were ordered not to use any water till the whole synagogue was burned down. Many of us did not like to do that, but we had to be careful not to voice our opinions because 'the enemy is listening'."
This forced disregard for Jewish property and Jewish citizens was planned by the Nazi head of Reich security, Reinhard Heydrich, and a telegram...