Unlike so many others, Julius von Jan chose not to look away in silence when a wave of pogroms across Germany left hundreds of Jews dead while thousands of synagogues, cemeteries, businesses, and other properties were destroyed, defiled, plundered or torched. Many "ordinary" people took part in the violence that erupted on the evening of November 9, 1938 — and that is often trivialized with the term "Kristallnacht" (The Night of Broken Glass.) In the days that followed, it was impossible to overlook the devastating impact that it had on Jewish life. World War Two had not yet begun. But the Nazis had already taken over every aspect of life in Germany. Violence was widespread. The first concentration camps were in operation. And the persecution of the Jews was systematic.