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Prelude to Destruction

Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (Book Review)
By Joy Cagil

Most of us are familiar with the bleakness and the general connotation of Kristallnacht. It takes some courage, however, to face the poignant, agonizing, and tragic personal stories of the survivors of that "night of the broken glass."

This book has put humanity's face on the history of one of the most atrocious nights of the world's recent past with the startlingly detailed accounts of those who lived it. The author, through his microscopic focusing ability, has amassed eye-witness accounts and has told the history of a horrifying night and its repercussions through the several years that followed it.

At least for me, "Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction" was very difficult to read without getting profoundly moved and deeply saddened; however, I read the book to the end without putting it down and without losing attention, because this book proved to be much more significant than any other piece of writing I had come across on the subject.

Kristallnacht occurred while people in the world watched powerlessly, although they understood what was happening. Some recorded the details; others shrugged it off; and most, even if threatened by it, froze in action. "Night of the broken glass" was mob behavior encouraged and abetted by the Third Reich.

The anti-Jew sentiment or rather the actions stemming from that sentiment had begun as early as 1933 at the onset of the Nazi Germany and grew to monstrous dimensions by November,1939. The German nation's each imperfection was blamed on its Jewish population with an attempt to swing the public opinion against the Jews. Thus, the deportation of the Jews from Germany had begun quite a few years before November 10, 1939, the date of the Kristallnacht.

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