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Educator Toolkit: Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes. (USHMM)

In the spirit of this commemoration and reflection, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh wishes to reach out to our youngest community members and their families. Often, Holocaust Education is introduced in late-elementary or early middle-school grades. However, Kristallnacht is an opportunity to gently introduce our younger students to powerful themes related to the Holocaust. The children’s picture book, Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, illustrates not only the events of Kristallnacht, but the changes within a community from the perspective of a child-like observer. Children are able to witness, through Benno and his neighborhood friendships, the emotional impact of hatred and the importance of paying attention to the world around you.

We wish to offer families and educators of young children a “Benno Toolkit” to guide them in reading comprehension and age-appropriate thematic understanding. This toolkit includes lesson ideas that can be implemented easily by parents and teachers alike. Special thanks to Mrs. Lynne Ravas for her generous assistance in helping to create this toolkit!