What to make of Grynszpan?
ON THIS DATE in 1938, one of the most enigmatic Jewish figures of the Holocaust shot and killed a Nazi diplomat in the German embassy in Paris.
Seventeen-year-old Herschel Grynszpan’s assassination of Ernst vom Rath gave the Nazis an excuse for launching Kristallnacht, or The Night of Broken Glass, which resulted in the razing of 265 synagogues and 200 houses, the demolition of 7,500 business establishments, and the incarceration of 30,000 Jews in concentration camps.
Grynszpan has been called “the boy who started a war.” A www.pbs.org broadcast called Kristallnacht “a turning point in German policy, setting into motion the Nazi’s systematic extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Christians, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and other Nazi enemies.”
So what should we make of Grynszpan? Was he a reckless assassin whose actions brought pain and death to millions, or a principled rebel who killed a Nazi in a show of strength?
The New York…
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