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Kristallnacht (krĭsˌtäl-näkht) [key] [Ger., = night of crystal], in German history, the night of Nov. 9, 1938, a night of violence against Jews and of destruction of the businesses and other property belonging to them. The name is a reference to the broken glass that resulted from the destruction. Using the pretext of the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris, Goebbels urged Storm Troopers to stage violent reprisals. A night of rampages by Storm Troopers, the SS, and the Hitler Youth resulted in 91 Jewish dead, hundreds injured, and 7,500 businesses and 177 synagogues gutted.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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