Merkel’s racism warning on pogrom anniversary
CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel and Germany’s main Jewish leader have warned against tolerating modernday anti-Semitism and racism as they marked the 80th anniversary of the Nazis’ purge of Jewish people on the infamous Night of Broken Glass.
On November 9, 1938 – known as Kristallnacht – Jews were terrorised throughout Germany and Austria.
At least 91 people were killed, hundreds of synagogues burned down, 7,500 Jewish businesses vandalised, and up to 30,000 Jewish men arrested, many of whom were taken away to concentration camps.
Twenty years after Germany’s defeat in the First World War and five years after Adolf Hitler took power, state-driven anti-Semitism “made it possible for many Germans to live out hatred and violence”, she said.
“With the November pogrom, the road to the Holocaust was mapped out.”
She spoke in a ceremony at a Berlin synagogue. The head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, said the building was set alight in 1938 and the blaze extinguished relatively quickly so it would not endanger neighbouring houses.
Mr Schuster said that while the Nazis’ SA and SS organisations were responsible for the pogrom, the population’s reaction “gave the Nazis valuable information: barely anyone protested”.
He added that while modern-day attacks on Jews, migrants and Muslims cannot be equated with the crimes of the Nazi era, “I see it as a disgrace for our country that such things happen in Germany in 2018”.