10 Resources to Help You Teach about Kristallnacht


Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass”, was a large-scale, coordinated attack on Jews throughout the German Reich on November 9 and 10, 1938. Motivated by the assassination of German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, by a Jewish man, Herschel Grynszpan, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy.

As the 77th Anniversary of Kristallnacht approaches, utilize the following Echoes and Reflections resources to effectively teach this important topic.

Primary Source Documents

  1. Synagogue burning in Siegen, Germany, November 10, 1938

    Synagogue burning in Siegen, Germany, November 10, 1938

    Heydrich’s Instructions – This telegram informed law enforcement about the demonstrations that were expected against the Jews the night of Kristallnacht and included instructions on how law enforcement and fire department personnel were to respond.

  1. Letter by Margarete Drexler – In her letter, Drexler requests that the Gestapo help her recover money that was stolen during Kristallnacht.
  1. Description of the Riot in Dinslaken – This journal entry, written by the head of an orphanage, highlights the impact Kristallnacht had on children.
  1. Photography – These images show Jewish businesses and synagogues damaged or destroyed during
  1. Testimony
    • Kurt Messerschmidt shares his experience the morning after Kristallnacht.
    • Esther Clifford describes the shock and chaos she experienced as glass shattered and buildings caught fire in her town.

Esther Clifford Holocaust survivor delivers testimony of KristallnachtInstructional Materials

The Echoes and Reflections Teacher’s Resource Guide is rich with resources to help you teach about Kristallnacht.

  1. Lesson 1: Studying the Holocaust is available on the Echoes and Reflections website and provides supportive instructional materials for teaching about
    • Part 2: Primary and Secondary Source Materials – This excerpt from the Teacher’s Resource Guide provides an introduction to Kristallnacht along with discussion questions and activities.
    • Making Connections provides additional activities that challenge students to take a critical look at the way Kristallnacht was covered in the media.
  1. Nazi Germany and Anti-Jewish Policy offers context that supports students in better understanding the Nazis rise to power and the antisemitic ideology that led to the Holocaust.

Additional Resources from IWitness

IWitness activity on Kristallnacth

NEW Activities in IWitness offer students additional opportunities to engage with this subject.

IWitness has additional clips of testimony and activities to further engage in the study of Kristallnacht.

  1. Utilize these NEW IWitness Activities
  1. Access the Kristallnacht tab on the Watch page for additional clips of testimony.

Echoes and Reflections Blog

  1. Social Studies teacher, Jennifer Goss, talks about teaching Kristallnacht and the approaches she uses in her classroom.