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The 1930's
The Night of Broken Glass

The Night of Broken Glass
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.62

     challenging words:    Kristallnacht, pogrom, standing, propaganda, translation, prosperous, embassy, inferior, wealthy, massacre, refused, directly, persecution, persuade, camps, belonging
     content words:    Many Jewish, Adolf Hitler, World War I., Nordic Germans, Polish Jews, Herschel Grynszpan, Vom Rath, Joseph Goebbels, Broken Glass, Crystal Night

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The Night of Broken Glass
By Jane Runyon

1     Jewish people enjoyed a happy life in Europe during the 1920s. Many Jewish businessmen became wealthy. They lived prosperous lives. When the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler took over Germany in the 1930s, all of that changed. Hitler did not like the Jews. He told the German people that it was the Jewish businessmen who caused the Germans to lose World War I. He preached that the Jewish race was inferior to the Aryan race that Nordic Germans were descended from. Hitler wanted to rid Germany of all Jews.
2     An opportunity arose for Hitler to begin his plan to eliminate the Jewish population in 1938. The event started in October of that year. Some 17,000 Jews had left Poland in the 1920s to live in Germany. The German government decided that they were living illegally in Germany. They were arrested, and the police marched them to the river which formed the border between Poland and Germany. The Polish Jews were forced to walk across the river and back to Poland. When they reached the Polish side of the river, the Polish border guards refused to let them back into the country. So the group was forced to walk back across the river to the German border. Of course, the German guards would not allow them back into Germany.
3     This exhausted group of people was forced to remain standing in the river in the rain for several days. Finally, Poland allowed the group to enter their country only to be placed in a concentration camp. A concentration camp is an area where political prisoners are held. Conditions in these camps are very bad. Some of the Polish Jews found the conditions so bad that they tried to escape back to Germany. They were shot and killed trying to do so.

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