[Review] Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert

Publisher and Publication Date: HarperCollins Publishers. 2006.
Genre: Nonfiction. History.
Pages: 320.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Public library.
Audience: Readers of the Holocaust.
Rating: Good to very good.

Link @ Amazon.

“They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground. They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.” Psalm 74:7-8. ESV.


A German diplomat was shot by a Jew in early November 1938. By the next day an uprising of intense anger and hatred and violent retaliation against the Jews began. Kristallnacht-the Night of Broken Glass, November 10, 1938, was a night of fiery destruction. Jewish businesses and synagogues and homes were destroyed. Jewish people were rounded up and abused and murdered. This night, set the tone of continued violent antisemitism that lasted until the end of World War II.

The book, Kristallnacht, allows those who were eyewitnesses share their story with brief writing from Martin Gilbert in order to introduce the people or share further background history.

My Thoughts:

I have read many books on the Holocaust. This is the first book I’ve read that is a complete Kristallnacht history.

Several reasons why I believe this is a good to very good rating book:

  1. Martin Gilbert gave the eyewitness accounts the largest voice in the book. His narration is to help outline, introduce, and give background history.
  2. I did not know there were several countries who gave refuge to Jews. These countries are India, Turkey, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil (only took Catholics who were from Jewish ancestry), Cyprus, Kenya, Trinidad, and Malta. Shanghai, China took the most Jewish refugees. All of the countries had strong limits of how many and who they took. This reason is noted for me because it is something I learned new in the book.
  3. I have been impacted, but do not understand, the violence and murder-the extent to what the Nazis did to another people group.
  4. The Kristallnacht story is written chronologically. It includes what was going on in other areas of Germany, other bordering countries.
  5. Twenty-four black and white maps are included in the back of the book.

One thought on “[Review] Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert

  1. I’ve often heard of Kristallnacht, but had assumed it was a preplanned campaign. I didn’t realize there was a ‘spark’ that set it off, though from the Wiki article I read it appears the spark itself was kindled by the Nazis’ growing campaign against Jewish Germans.


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