Night of bro­ken glass trib­ute

Daily Dispatch - - World News -

Ger­many re­mem­bered vic­tims of the Nazi pogrom that her­alded the start of the Third Re­ich’s drive to wipe out Jews, at a time when anti-Semitism is resur­gent in the West.

Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier were to join Jewish lead­ers at Ger­many’s big­gest syn­a­gogue to com­mem­o­rate the 80th an­niver­sary of Kristall­nacht, also known as the Night of Bro­ken Glass.

Stein­meier’s speech at the Bun­destag would mark one of Ger­many’s dark­est days, but also two other mo­men­tous events in the coun­try’s his­tory that also fell on Novem­ber 9 – the end of the im­pe­rial gov­ern­ment in 1918 and the fall of the Ber­lin Wall in 1989.

The grimmest of the three dates was that in 1938, when Nazi thugs mur­dered at least 90 Jews, torched 1,400 syn­a­gogues across Ger­many and Aus­tria, and de­stroyed Jewish-owned shops and busi­nesses.

The pre­text for the co­or­di­nated ac­tion was the fa­tal shoot­ing on Novem­ber 7 1938, of a Ger­man diplo­mat in Paris by a Pol­ish Jewish stu­dent.

In what they la­belled their retaliation, the Nazis rounded up and de­ported at least 30,000 Jews to con­cen­tra­tion camps.

In ad­di­tion, they made the Jews pay “com­pen­sa­tion” for the dam­age caused to prop­erty. The bru­tal ram­page marked the point at which lo­cal per­se­cu­tion of Jews be­came sys­tem­atic, cul­mi­nat­ing in the Holo­caust that claimed some six mil­lion lives.

In re­cent years across Ger­many on Novem­ber 9, peo­ple have got on their knees to pol­ish “Stolper­steine” (stum­bling stones) – coaster-sized brass plaques embed­ded in pave­ments bear­ing the names of Jewish vic­tims in front of their for­mer homes.

But in Ber­lin last year, 16 plaques were dug up and stolen just be­fore the Kristall­nacht an­niver­sary, in a sign of a resur­gence in anti-Semitism.

On the 80th an­niver­sary of Kristall­nacht, also known in Ger­many as Re­ich­s­pogrom­nacht, far-right mil­i­tants were plan­ning a demon­stra­tion in Ber­lin, forc­ing au­thor­i­ties to step in with a ban.

“The idea that right-wing ex­trem­ists are go­ing to march through the gov­ern­ment district in the dark with the burn­ing can­dles is un­bear­able,” said Ber­lin’s in­te­rior min­is­ter An­dreas Geisel .—

Pic­ture: DPA/AFP/BERND WUESTNECK

IN TRIB­UTE: Peo­ple light can­dles in Sch­w­erin, Ger­many to mark the 80th an­niver­sary of the ‘Night of Bro­ken Glass’.

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