Friday 1 March 2019


Yes, in modern history of the world there was a night named as such-night of broken glass. That was the night shattered glass windowpanes littered streets of Germany. It is remembered as the beginning of the Holocaust. Yet many of us may not be aware of that night which in German is known as Kristallnacht.

In 1933 Hitler came to power. Since then most of the Nazi laws enacted to oppress Jews were social, political and economic in nature but remained non violent. But it changed over night. During this night for the first time Nazi action against Jews turned violent and deadly!

On night of 9-10 November 1938 in Germany Nazi paramilitary forces such as SS along with civilian supporters targeted German Jews in a pre planned mission. Thousands of helpless Jews were arrested, Jewish homes and shops were destroyed while synagogues were burnt down!

The background...
Hitler blamed Jews for almost everything which went wrong in Germany in his time albeit they were less than 1% of population. He believed that Jews were responsible for the economic and social damages inflicted on Germany during  First World war. Once he came to power in 1933 he strongly believed and advocated that Jews could not assimilate to German society though they were in Germany for many centuries because they were not Aryans! Ideology of Nazism was based on concept of the superior race of Aryans! He sincerely wanted Jews in Germany to leave the country for good to elsewhere. And he started taking forcible action to make it happen!

Initial action against Jews by Hitler was the announcement of boycott of Jewish shops in 1933.Paramilitary officers were engaged to dissuade shoppers entering Jewish shops. Thereafter the Nazis took effective action banning kosher butchery. Jews were denied practice of legal profession and entry to civil services. Voting right for parliamentary elections was called off. Sex between Jews and Germans(Aryans) was an offence. Persecution of Jews became official albeit it was not for the first time in Germany. History has recorded that Jews were treated in a similar way during the time of first crusade!

On 7 November same year a Polish Jew walked into German Embassy in Paris and shot at a German diplomat who died two days later of his wounds. He was a refugee who wanted to avenge the deportation of his father to Poland. It seems Nazi party got something they had been waiting for... 

Night of broken glass..Beginning of Holocaust...
On night of 9-10 November thousands of Jews-30000- were arrested, Jewish shops were looted and destroyed. Jewish homes were attacked and vandalized. Hundreds of synagogues were destroyed. In the rampage 90 Jews were killed. Most of the arrested men between 16-60 were transported to concentration camps at Dachau ,Buchenwald and others.

Streets of Germany and annexed parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia were full of shards of broken glass that night. While Nazi arm like SS with support of few Germans carried out this operation, Nazi Govt declared that it was spontaneous outbursts!!While heavy fines were imposed on Jews for this, they were deprived of taking compensation from insurance companies.

Following night of broken glass half of Jews who were in Germany for centuries migrated to neighboring countries. We all know what Nazis did to the remaining half .....

Jews, Holocaust and Palestinians in my life...
I hail from town of Kochi which is not typical of India. The main difference with most of  other such B grade towns in India is the fact that Kochi is cosmopolitan all along. Among my schoolmates there were Jews. But they left the country in late 1950s and early 1960s for Israel. They had left not because of persecution of any kind from the Indian society but for Israel. I understand that many of the Jews so left the country keep on coming to the town in their old age regularly on visits or even own apartments for such stays! Although they left for good, names such as Jew town and Jew street remain intact to this day in this sprawling city along with few well preserved synagogues and cemeteries exhibiting famed tolerance of Indian society.

It was in later life-in my early 20s- that I knew about Holocaust. When I started reading about that I came to know of the hardships Jews had to face in Germany and elsewhere. Leon Uris and Elie Wiesel have painted the atrocities Jews had to undergo in ghettos and concentration camps vividly in their books. I have seen couple of movies based on such themes as well. I really felt sorry for what had happened to them. 

It was when I started my career in Doha that I had the opportunity to mix with a lot of Palestinians. Some of them became my good friends. Almost all of them were second generation Arabs who had to leave the country when Israel was created, now mostly holding passport of Jordan. Through them I have heard first hand many times their own bitter experiences with authorities in Israel while trying to to meet their own relatives or on other contexts. I felt sorry for them as well.

I look forward to the day long lasting peace in the region with all concerned parties prevail. I am an optimistic person and I really look forward for those moments.... 

Photos: Courtesy Google.



  1. Really enjoyed the topic.Nice article.Your language has been improving with every 'musing'.Keep writing my friend.All the best.


  2. Jaison,It is extremely well written. KAILASNATHAN

  3. Good article sir.."Holocaust" knowledge on every articles..


  4. Panikkaveetil Semzuddeen: Night by Elie Wiesel is a fantastic book


  5. Damodara Raja:
    Nicely written, interesting to read.

  6. Akb Kavil.....
    interesting observation

  7. Muhammed Peekay ;
    Jaison,😊 now you have become a good writer. I would like to suggest you to narrate the story of Palestinians also to know what happened exactly
    Regards. P K

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  10. I am truly impressed by the details which you have provided. It is an interesting article for me as well as for others. Thanks for sharing such articles here. Blown Glass



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