The impossibility for all the Jews to leave Germany had many reasons. Some thought the homeland they fought for in World War .I. would never betray them. Others could not find passage to other countries. Most countries had immigration quotas and they allowed only so many people. The Jews, therefore, found themselves locked in a threatening situation and in a dangerous place they had come to love and respect as their homeland.
During these forced deportations of the Semites, Herschel Grynszpan, a seventeen year-old Jewish boy--after getting word of his family's plight--shot and mortally wounded the Third Secretary to the German Ambassador in Paris. This became the spark to inflame the hatred of the German masses against the Jews.
On the "night of the broken glass," almost every synagogue was burned; Jewish cemeteries were desecrated; private homes and stores belonging to Jews were broken into and every single item demolished or confiscated; and men and women--rich or poor, young or old, healthy or infirm--were beaten, killed, or terrorized. Vienna, known as the "Jewish City," was mostly burned, and in other cities, all Jewish neighborhoods were wrecked.
In one of the personal stories, then-six-year old Lea Weems remembers, after the Nazis came in and broke everything her family owned, "they pushed my father and grandfather down the stairs. I was screaming and pulling on my father's sleeve trying to keep him from leaving."
The book is made up of similar hair-raising remembrances of the survivors of Kristallnacht through their escape or destiny. The writer has also noted the generous and kind actions of the few Germans who were human enough to see the wrong in their fellow citizens, for some of them helped the Jews as much as they could.