The Germans say words matter and “Kristallnacht” just isn’t descriptive enough, given the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazis in November 1938.
For many, such as Meier Schwarz, a more appropriate term would be “pogrom,” a Russian word deriving from a verb meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.” As such, “Pogromnacht” — night of pogroms — has become more common in recent Holocaust discourse in Germany.
“Kristallnacht,” or its English equivalent, remains in common use outside Germany, including by English-language media and Jewish organizations. The USHMM uses it but further defines what happened as an “organized act of nationwide violence” and a “wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms.”
The best part of the very German-sounding dialog about terminology is a direct shot at lazy deniers, by demanding a level of integrity and authenticity from those who claim to study history.
“The most important thing,” Gross said, “is to know what you are talking about.”
You won’t hear that in America, a country obsessed with a false “right” to be dumb — completely uninformed and wrong about everything.