Humans of the Holocaust: Herschel Grynszpan’s Life and Death
On the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht—its horrific campaign of terror against Germany’s Jewish citizens in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself.
Was Grynszpan an early resistance fighter or a troubled young man? Did he share an intimate connection with his victim, as he later claimed? Join bestselling author Jonathan Kirsch to explore Grynszpan’s life and the moral dimensions of his act, in conversation with Prof. Michael Berenbaum.
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Jonathan Kirsch is an author, a book critic and an attorney specializing in publishing and intellectual property law. A book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times for four decades, he now serves as book editor of the Jewish Journal and contributes book reviews to the Washington Post. He is a former Adjunct Professor on the faculty of New York University’s Professional Publishing Program and speaks frequently on publishing, law and history. Kirsch is the author of thirteen books, including The Short Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat and a Murder in Paris (Norton/Liveright).
Michael Berenbaum is a Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University. He is a writer, a scholar and a creator of Museums. His work has been recognized by the Emmys and Academy Awards.