On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year old Polish-German Jew, walked into the German Embassy in Paris and shot Third Secretary, Ernst vom Rath, who died shortly after. Vom Rath's death triggered the mayhem and destruction which became known as "Kristallnacht", or "the Night of Broken Glass", the razing of 265 synagogues and 200 houses, the demolition and looting of 7500 business establishments and the incarceration of 30,000 Jewish males in various concentration camps. Herschel Grynszpan was immediately arrested. France's foremost criminal lawyer took over his defense. On June 8, 1940, two days before the French Government evacuated Paris in advance of the German onslaught, Herschel Grynszpan was indicted for murder. A month later he was in Nazi hands, being interrogated by the Gestapo in anticipation of a major trial show. Examining German documents never before revealed, including a startling coded "confession", Gerald Schwab probes the background of this extraordinary young man. The book describes, in considerable detail, Grynszpan's experiences in French and German hands and challenges some commonly held ideas about the cause of the shooting. "The Day the Holocaust Began" describes the life of a mixed-up, emotionally immature youngster who developed into one of the most amazing and unlikely heroes of modern history, demonstrating the power of the human spirit against overwhelming odds. Anyone interested in modern European history, the Nazi Government, the persecution of the European Jews, as well as students of the Holocaust and its many ramifications, will find "The Day the Holocaust Began" interesting reading.