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Remembering Kristallnacht
by David P. Rosenberg, M.P.A., Reference Services Research Coordinator, Center for Jewish History

November 9th -10th marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a series of attacks on Jews in Germany and Austria that was a turning point for the Nazi Party. Kristallnacht is often looked at as the beginning of the Holocaust.

Each of the five partners of the Center for Jewish History has material on Kristallnacht or the Holocaust. A search of the library catalog, catalog.cjh.org, reveals over 730 records with the word “Kristallnacht” in the description, and over 15,000 with the word “Holocaust.”

The amount of digitized material available to anyone with an internet connection is similarly vast, with 550 results containing the word “Kristallnacht,” including over 100 photographs and over 40 oral histories. Using “Holocaust,” there are over 1,900 results, including more than 300 photographs and 300 oral histories.

The following is a small sampling of relevant holdings from each of our five partners.

American Jewish Historical Society

The oral history of Fred Margulies contains memories of Kristallnacht. It has been digitized and is available online.

There are digitized letters on the conditions in the displaced persons camps. This material was originally in Box 1, Folder 26 of the Abraham Klausner Papers, available here.

American Sephardi Federation

Birkenau (Auschwitz II) : memories of an eyewitness : how 72,000 Greek Jews perished by Albert Menasche, number 124,454. (1947)

The destruction of the Dutch Jews by J. Presser. Translated by Arnold Pomerans. (1969)

Leo Baeck Institute

One example of the many memoirs in the LBI collections is Kristallnacht and Aftermath, November 1938: German original and English translation of notes written in March 1939, in London, three months after release from Dachau concentration camp by Siegfried Koppel. This material has been digitized and is available online.

One example of the many photographs memorializing the event that have been digitized is Wiesbaden Synagogue Burning; Kristallnacht (see above).

Yeshiva University Museum

“Jews Have Always Fought for Freedom” Arthur Szyk image from 1943.

Yom Yahadut Polin Poster From 1945.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Digitized photograph of Shlomo Grzywacz, a Jewish child from Warsaw hidden from the Nazis by Righteous Gentiles in Dembniki, Poland.

Digitized flier for an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, New York City, April 13, 1944.


These ten items are a very small selection of items concerning the Holocaust held by the partner organizations here at the Center. The types of material are as impressive as the scope; the collections contain newspapers, memoirs, ephemera, archival material, oral histories, photographs, artwork, books and other types of material. Click here to explore the materials. You can also start a reference chat here, send an inquiry here or book a librarian here.

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