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The Night of Broken Glass: The November 1938 Pogroms - documentary DVD review
THE NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS: THE NOVEMBER 1938 POGROMS Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 4 stars
Director: Michael Kloft   Distributor: First Run Features
DVD release: 23 March 2010   Runtime: 48 min. (1 disc)
Format: Black & White, Color, DVD, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (English 2.0 Stereo), Filmmaker biography, Third Reich film gallery

On November 9th and 10th of 1938, just before the World War II broke out, Kristallnacht - "The Night of Broken Glass" - occurred. Triggered by the shooting of a German diplomat by a Polish-born Jew, Kristallnacht was an organized assault on Jews in Germany and Austria. Named for the broken glass of synagogues and storefront windows, the pogrom also involved the burning of Jewish-owned businesses and synagogues, the murder of 91 Jews, and the arrest of thousands of others, who were sent to concentration camps. They were among the first to be so persecuted.

Michael Kloft's documentary The Night of Broken Glass: The November 1938 Pogroms combines present-day interviews with Krystallnacht survivors and historical footage from the tragic event. We get an insight into the feelings at the time toward Jews and an explanation (if not a complete understanding) of how such a thing could possibly come to pass.

Kloft's documentary is well-written and not overlong, an impartial observer relating the events of the day in an even-handed manner. It's what we have come to expect from Kloft's work, and certainly we'll see more of the same in his future films.

Kristallnacht marks an important moment in human history. It marked the first terrible and significant step toward an Hitler's final solution. We should be wary in our own time of the steps that were taken in Germany, lest we make the same mistakes.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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