Lesson Plan

Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass

This lesson summarizes the events leading up to, the event of, and the aftermath of Kristallnacht.

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

The Jewish people were abandoned by most of their fellow citizens and by those meant to protect them. Because of this Kristallnacht was a watershed moment which further ignited Hitler and the Nazi party’s intent to destroy the Jews.

Essential Question

  • 1What message did Kristallnacht send to the people of Germany? To the Jews?


5 Min

Ask students what they might already know about Kristallnacht.

For the younger grades, or if the students are newly being introduced to Holocaust education, include some additional information. For example, tell students the name “Kristallnacht” is translated as “Night of Crystal” but is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” Some may know this name more than the official one. If they are not sure, have them guess what it could be based on the name.


20 Min

Direct students to the resource, Kristallnacht by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Read through the document as a class. Start with the three key facts at the top of the page so students understand the main points as they go through the reading.

In a class discussion, go over the following questions:

  1. What led up to the event of Kristallnacht?
  2. How did the events of Kristallnacht compare to previous anti-Jewish actions and violence in Germany under the Nazis?


20 Min

Divide the class into groups of three to five and ask them to answer these questions about the reading. Ask students to take notes on their answers.

  1. How did Kristallnacht propel the Nazi agenda forward?
  2. What steps were taken to help the Jews by the German government and by other countries following that night and the next months?
  3. What do you suppose the response from other nations was to Hitler and the Nazi party?

If time permits, come together as a class to go over the answers the groups came up with.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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