London, November 7 : English translations of accounts of the victims of the Nazi-incited riots of Kristallnacht, which left 91 Jews dead and up to 30,000 arrested and deported to concentration camps, have been released for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of the infamous night.
German Jew Alfred Wiener had collected the harrowing stories, diary extracts, and letters in the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of the Broken Glass, on November 9, 1938.
His collection reveals the vigilante violence, arrests, and vandalism that left thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues ransacked and looted.
"You cannot imagine how things have been with us. Papa with a head wound, bandaged, myself in bed with severe fits, everything devastated and destroyed. And the poor child had to look after us, cook and run errands, though still in a state of serious exhaustion," the Daily Express quoted a Jewish woman named Gisa as having written to a friend.
The translated work also contains an account on how the SA, Nazi stormtroopers, tortured humiliated arrested Jews in a cellar where they were imprisoned.
"Women aged between 50 and 55 were made to strip naked and dance for the men imprisoned with them. The dance was demonstrated to them by the SA," shows the account.
"Sick women were obliged to answer the call of nature in public, in front of men and children, as there was only one WC for 200 people. "Children between the ages of one month and two years received nothing to eat for two days," it adds.
A Jewish businessman also wrote about shattered shop fronts and smoking synagogues two weeks after the attacks.
"(It was) a crime against civilisation for which the Germans would one day have to atone," he wrote.
UK charity the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and London's Wiener Library, the oldest institution in the world devoted to memorialising the Holocaust, joined forces to release the 10 translations.
The objective behind the translation project was to spread awareness amongst the British about the dangers that hate crimes like racial attacks and vandalism pose in the country these days.
Available on the HMDT, the collection includes a desperate letter from a 17-year-old Jewish boy begging the Children's Committee in Amsterdam for help.
Wiener had fled to Amsterdam during the war, and dedicated much of his life to uncovering Nazi crimes.