Paris, November 7, 1938. Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jewish refugee, murdered the third secretary of the German embassy, Ernst vom Rath. This event was the pretext for unleashing an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic violence on the night of 9-10 November and the following day.
On Reich territory, more than 200 synagogues were burnt down and destroyed, thousands of shops vandalized and private flats ransacked. Hundreds of Jews attacked died or committed suicide, and 30,000 were deported to concentration camps.
The night became known as “Kristallnacht” (“the Night of Broken Glass”), due to the litter of broken glass left in the streets the next day. A euphemism that reduces events to a simple riot or mere property damage. Yet this was the very first pogrom in German history. A turning point in the regime’s repression of the Jews. The beginning of the Shoah…
Combining archive footage and historians’ insights, this film deciphers these terrible events, its challenges and consequences, and shows how those 3 days forever changed the fate of Jews in Germany and Europe.
Direction: Marie-Pierre Camus & Vincent Guillaume
Production: Les Films en Vrac for ARTE France & Histoire TV
Delivery: March 2025