On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms (a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently”) against Jewish populations in Germany and other recently incorporated territories.
During this initiative, more than 30,000 Jewish males were rounded up, arrested, and taken to concentration camps where hundreds died as a result of the brutal treatment to which they were subjected. Hundreds of other men and women were killed, raped or otherwise injured, and subjected to public humiliation. In the aftermath, many Jews committed suicide.
The pogroms also resulted in the plundering and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and cultural centers. This pogrom came to be called Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets in the aftermath of the violence.
My spouse and I lived in Germany for three years in the 1980s. In the fall of 1988, we noticed that many Frankfurt businesses were concurrently advertising 50th anniversary celebrations. When we inquired, we learned that these were the Jewish businesses that had been seized by the Germans during Kristallnacht.
The current rise in anti-semitism brought back this memory and inspired this work. It was created from black-on-white monoprints cut into circles and stitched together to reference a traditional quilt pattern known as “cathedral windows,” a reminder that many of the perpetrators of the Kristallnacht violence and devastation were persons who worshiped in Christian churches and cathedrals. It measures 36 inches high by 36 inches wide by 1 inch deep.