What is the visual evidence of the brutal pogrom that shattered Germany’s remaining Jewish community in November 1938 and that was euphemistically labeled “Crystal Night”? Contemporary newsreel reports featured condemnations of the attack by prominent contemporaries and stills of the destruction. Later, documentary and feature films dramatized the November pogrom with the help of reenactments, photographs, and survivor interviews. It was only with the discovery of German home movies of Kristallnacht that authentic footage appeared in documentaries made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the pogrom. In this talk, Lawrence Baron reconstructs an intriguing chapter of recent Jewish, German, and film history.
Professor emeritus at San Diego State University, Baron is the author and editor of four books including “The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema” and “Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema.” His contribution to Holocaust studies was profiled in “Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide.”