- by theguardian
- 04 Dec 2022
One shows a crowd of smiling, well-dressed middle-aged German men and women standing casually as a Nazi officer smashes a storefront window. In another, brownshirts carry heaps of Jewish books, presumably for burning. Another image shows a Nazi officer splashing petrol on the pews of a synagogue before it is set alight.
Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial centre, released the photographs on the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass. Mobs of Germans and Austrians attacked, looted and burned Jewish shops and homes, destroyed 1,400 synagogues, killed 92 Jews and sent another 30,000 to concentration camps.
The violence is widely considered a starting point of the Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany murdered 6 million Jews.
The pictures were taken by Nazi photographers during the pogrom in the city of Nuremberg and the nearby town of FÃ¼rth. They wound up in the possession of a Jewish-American serviceman who was deployed to Germany during the second world war. How he obtained the photos is uncertain; he never talked about them to his family.
Yad Vashem said the photos help demonstrate how the German public was aware of what was going on, and that the violence was part of a meticulously coordinated pogrom carried out by Nazi authorities. They even brought in photographers to document the atrocities.
Despite Nazi censorship, the Associated Press was able to send pictures from Kristallnacht when it happened that were widely circulated in the US. The images included a burning synagogue and people cleaning up glass from vandalised Jewish shops.
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