Two History-Making Events on November 9

Kristallnacht and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

PHOTO: Wiesbaden Synagogue Burning, Center for Jewish History / Creative Commons

PHOTO: March, 1973. Yours truly looking over the Berlin Wall, from inside free West Berlin.

PHOTO: March 1973. A monument to an East German youth killed trying to cross the wall and reach freedom in West Berlin.

November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night”)

Nazi violence was unleashed on the Jews and their property throughout Germany and Austria.

It was so named because of the shards of glass from thousands of synagogues, shops and homes that were attacked. 

This night of terror––spanning two days, really––signaled a brazen new chapter of Nazi tyranny. 

November 9, 1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

This 114-mile wall was erected in 1961 by Communist East Germany. It encircled the free city of West Berlin to prevent the people under Communist rule from escaping to freedom in the West. In the ensuing 28 years, at least 140 people seeking freedom were killed by Communist guards. 

The “Fall of the Wall” led to the reunification of East and West Germany. It also marked the beginning of the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and freedom-loving people around the world breathed new life.