Kristallnacht Testimonies

On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently occupied and annexed territories. It should have been clear to the rest of the world what the Nazis were really about.

Telegram from Sir G Ogilvie Forbes regarding the damage dealt to Jewish properties during ‘Kristallnacht’ on 10 November 1938


Telegram (en clair) from Sir G. Ogilvie Forbes (Berlin),

“D. BY TELEPHONE. 10th November, 1938.

R 5.5p.m. 10th November, 1938



My telegram No. 661.

I have just returned from a tour of Friedrichstrasse and city districts where Jewish shops are being smashed and looted by youths in plain clothes, followed by large and smiling crowds including soldiers and others in party uniforms. Police were taking no notice.

Only exception was the premises of Messrs. Israel, a big department store partly British-owned which was guarded by police with fire brigade standing by. His Majesty’s Consul-General who visited these premises informs me that enormous damage has been done to stock and fittings. According to Mr. Israel store was attacked early this afternoon by a crowd which included S.S. men in uniform. Business offices owned by Jews are also being entered and smashed up apparently with impunity. Similar attacks on Jewish property are said to be taking place all over Germany.

His Majesty’s Consul Dresden reports that a British Jew from Leipzig has asked for asylum in the Consulate as Jews in Leipzig are being beaten up. I have taken immediate steps with the Under Secretary of State for the safeguarding of British subjects.

Chief Rabbi of Berlin has been arrested and seven synagogues have been burnt.

The facts that these attacks began only after midnight last night and that Jewish shops and offices have been systematically signalled out indicate that this action was deliberately planned.”

Testimony from survivor Steve Adler.

Steve Adler


Kristallnacht started on the evening of the ninth of November ’38. I went to school in the morning with my brother but we were immediately sent home. There was a man in our living room with my dad, and he took him away. He was gone for six-weeks. And during that six-week time, I didn’t know where he was. He came back on the 23rd of December, 38 six-weeks later—beaten up, smelling terribly, he was a mess. Shaved head, no hair on his head; and that was a “good” camp. That was Sachsenhausen North of Berlin, one of three camps operating in Germany.


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