Adolf Hitler began making life miserable for Jews shortly after he took office in 1933. But things got really wicked on November 9, 1938 -- known ever after as Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") -- when Nazi punks and storm troopers went around smashing windows, looting stores, and attacking Jewish families. By dawn, they'd murdered 91 people and gutted 7,500 businesses and 177 synagogues. Who got arrested for those crimes? 30,000 Jews!
Immediately afterward, the Nazis said "such demonstrations are not to be prepared or organized by the party, but so far as they originate spontaneously, they are not to be discouraged either." The government decided to "solve" the "Jewish question" by requiring Jews to stay indoors between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and confiscating their precious metals, radios, driver's licenses, and carrier pigeons. Next thing you know, some 6 million people were marched off to concentration camps.
That, obviously, is the short version of the story. Learn more by checking out the Third Annual Kristallnacht Film Forum. At 9 p.m. November 13, catch Amen (2002), about a German chemist who tries to get the Vatican to help stop the genocide. At 11:30 a.m. November 14, see Focus (2001), in which William H. Macy and Laura Dern play a couple who are mistakenly identified and persecuted as Jews; Hannah's War (1988), the true story of a Hungarian-born poet who was recruited into the British secret service and executed by Nazis (showing at 2:30 p.m.); and Shanghai Ghetto (2002), a documentary about Jewish refugees who fled to China (at 7:30 p.m.). -- Deirdra Funcheon