Just prior to World War II, persecution of the Jews began with changes in civil law, which increasingly restricted their opportunities and participation in society. According to Marion A. Kaplan, author of Between Dignity and Despair, Nazi-controlled governments confiscated Jews’ “personal property and limited food and clothing purchases” (145). In 1938, the first anti-Semitic law was passed, restricting a Jew’s choice of profession and involvement in the economy. That same year hatred culminated in an event forever known as “Kristallnacht,” “The Night of the Broken Glass” (Ellis and Silinsky). The Germans used this term to “describe the tons of shattered glass spread over public areas, streets, and squares from the ruined homes and shops of Jews” (Kaplan 125). This uproar started when a seventeen-year-old Polish Jew named Henry Grynszpan walked up and shot an embassy official, Ernest Von Rath, after he was not able to free his family from Germany.
This act gave Hitler the excuse to turn Gentile against Jew and inflame a h...
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