9 November 1938, the ‘Kristallnacht’ pogrom was the first step towards the extermination of the Jewish Europeans by the nazis.
Today this pogrom is seen as the symbolic beginning of the Holocaust, the systematic eradication of Jewish people which started with the discrimination and exclusion of the German Jews since 1933 and which eventually led to the murder of 6 million Jewish people and 5,5 million ‘enemies of the German state’: homosexuals, criminals and ‘asocial’ people, members of diverse religious communities, people with mental disabilities, political ‘offenders’ such as communists and socialists, Spanish republican refugees and minorities like Roma and Sinti and others. The ‘Kristallnacht’ reminds us that such terrible things did not start with deportations and concentration camps, but were developed step by step. Nazi propaganda and hate speech against Jews and laws depriving Jewish citizens of their rights (the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ i.a. stripped German Jews of their citizenship) were the first steps, eventually culminating in violence and pogroms.