(November 10, 2022 / JNS) A newly discovered photo album recently donated to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, features rare photos of the events of the November Pogrom of 1938, termed “Kristallnacht” by the Nazis.
The museum released the photos to the public on Wednesday.
The album contains photographs of vandalized Jewish homes, images of Jews in dressing gowns or pajamas, some wounded, and others still in bed—classic propaganda photos taken by the Nazis—and pictures of SS men gathering piles of books, presumably collected in order to burn later.
The photos, taken by Nazi photographers, depict scenes from one location, but are representative of the attack on the Jewish community across much of Germany and Austria during the two-day pogrom.
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan said, “Seeing these images of humiliation of Jews, and the destruction of their homes, businesses and even synagogues is extremely disturbing and difficult.”
The album was kept for many years in the United States in the home of a Jewish American soldier that served in the counterintelligence department of the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II.
After he passed away, his daughter, Ann Leifer, and her two daughters discovered the album while cleaning up her father’s house.
“When I opened the album, I felt as if a hole had been burned through my hands,” said Elisheva Avital, the soldier’s granddaughter, describing that moment when they first saw the photos contained in the album.
Between Nov. 9-10, 1938, German and Austrian mobs looted, torched and vandalized many Jewish-owned shops, businesses and homes. In just a few hours some 1,400 synagogues were set ablaze and destroyed.
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