Reinhard Heydrich: Memorandum concerning Kristallnacht


On the night of November 9–10, 1938, Jews in Nazi Germany were victimized by widespread acts of vandalism and terrorism. Because the destruction of so many Jewish businesses that night left broken glass scattered on the streets, the event is referred to as Kristallnacht, or “Crystal Night,” that is, “Night of Broken Glass.” The Memorandum concerning Kristallnacht from Reinhard Heydrich, at the time the head of the nation's Sicherheitspolizei (“security police”), an organization that included the feared Gestapo (or Geheime Staatspolizei, “state secret police”), outlines in chilling detail the Nazi government's backing of this reign of terror against German Jews.

Kristallnacht was the latest event in the efforts of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to trample on the civil liberties of Jews and other groups he regarded as undesirable. In the 1920s Hitler's National Socialist German Workers Party, the Nazis, had been a fringe group, but in 1932 the Nazis won 230 of 608 seats in...

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“Assassination of Heydrich” by Terence Cuneo (National Archives U.K.)

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