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In 1930, a worldwide depression hit Germany and Hitler promised to rid Germany of Jews and Communists and to reunite the German speaking part of Europe. In July, 1932, the Nazis received about 40% of the vote and became the strongest party in Germany. On January 30,1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor of Germany. Once in this position, Hitler moved quickly toward attaining a dictatorship. When von Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler already had control of Germany ...

After Hitler came to power, sales of Mein Kampf skyrocketed, making him a rich man. In Germany, where newlyweds received a copy of the book from the government, 6 million copies had been issued by 1940, and by 1942, Hitler himself boasted that Mein Kampf had the largest sales of any book in the world – apart from the Bible. By one estimate, Hitler received $1 million a year in royalty payments alone.

Adolf Hitler's war with the Jews now stepped up in pace. Whereas before, anti-Semitic rhetoric helped the Nazis get elected, now they had the power to put some of their ideas into action. In April 1933, Jews were banished from government jobs, a quota was established banning Jews from university, and a boycott of Jewish shops enacted.

In 1935, the infamous Nuremberg Laws were passed. These classed Jews as German "subjects" instead of citizens. Intermarriage was outlawed, more professions were closed to Jews, shops displayed signs reading, "No Jews Allowed." Harassment was common.

In another attempt to purge Germany of her Jews, a roundup of Jews with Polish citizenship was enacted in October 1938. These Polish Jews were herded like cattle and dumped at the Polish border, where the Poles kept them in no-man's land. One deported family wrote to their son who was studying in Paris, Herschel Grynszpan. When he heard of the torments his parents went through, he resolved to avenge them and shot a German official, vom Rath, stationed in Paris.

This small rebellion was a perfect opportunity for Adolf Hitler to rise up in indignation. The Nazis called for demonstrations, and violence erupted across Germany for two days. Stores were destroyed, synagogues burned, and twenty thousand Jews arrested. 

The riots came to be known as Kristallnacht - the Night of Glass, for all the broken glass.

 


 

 

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