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The Ginsberg family watched from their window at Kaiser Wilhelm Straße 31 on the evening of November 9, 1938 as Kristallnacht took place. Nearby, the largest synagogue in Berlin, the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue, built in 1912, and a symbol of Jewish integration in Germany, was purposely set on fire. On that night in Germany, thousands of Jewish citizens were attacked, hundreds were murdered, and 7,500 Jewish shops and businesses were burned or otherwise destroyed. 1,400 synagogues were burned. Tens of thousands of men were arrested and taken to concentration camps. 


Determined to get his family out of Germany, Moses reapplied in January 1939 to emigrate to the United States. He was told that his family was on the waiting list for Poles and that it was unknown when, and if, they might get entry visas.

Broken Shop Glass after Kristallnacht

Photo: Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business that was destroyed during Kristallnacht on November 10, 1938, in Berlin, Germany.

Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.

Letter From American Consulate

Translation of the January 1939 letter from the American Consulate in Berlin to the Ginsberg family:

Ginsberg, Moses, Chane, Sala & Susi.

The Consulate-General hereby informs you that you are listed on the “Polish” waiting list under the following numbers: 2876 A-L. It is not yet possible to say when you will be able to count on your case; however, you will receive a further notification in due time. 

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