Nazi vic­tims re­mem­bered

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

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

In a speech at the Bun­destag mark­ing the 80th an­niver­sary of Kristall­nacht, also known as the Night of Bro­ken Glass, Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier said the vi­o­lence on No­vem­ber 9, 1938 marked “the in­com­pa­ra­ble break from civil­i­sa­tion, Ger­many’s fall into bar­barism”.

Ger­many must never look away again, if “some try again to speak for the ‘real peo­ple’ and seek to ex­clude” those who may have a dif­fer­ent re­li­gion or skin colour, he said.

In a clear ref­er­ence to a grow­ing far-right move­ment in Ger­many, Stein­meier warned against a “new, ag­gres­sive na­tion­al­ism” that “con­jures up an idyl­lic past that never ex­isted”.

Stein­meier will later join chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and Jewish lead­ers at Ger­many’s big­gest syn­a­gogue to com­mem­o­rate one of the coun­try’s dark­est days.

On No­vem­ber 9, 1938, 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.

The Nazis rounded up and de­ported at least 30 000 Jews to con­cen­tra­tion camps and made Jews pay “com­pen­sa­tion” for the dam­age caused to prop­erty.

Char­lotte Knobloch, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many, re­called walk­ing through town that day with her fa­ther.

“I saw the smoul­der­ing syn­a­gogue and asked: why aren’t the fire­men com­ing? I got no re­ply,” she told the pub­lic broad­caster ZDF.

I saw the smoul­der­ing syn­a­gogue and asked: why aren’t the fire­men com­ing? I got no re­ply. Char­lotte Knobloch For­mer pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews

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