Kristallnacht [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.
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