Germany remembers its ‘fall from civilisation’
Germany on Friday remembered victims of the Nazi pogrom that heralded the Third Reich’s drive to wipe out Jews, at a time when antiSemitism 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 with 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”.
Joining Steinmeier and Jewish leaders at a ceremony later at Germany’s biggest synagogue, Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined that Kristallnacht had happened after a creeping process in which anti-Semitism was first tolerated, and later encouraged.
Eight decades ago on this day, Nazi thugs murdered at least 90 Jews, torched 1,400 synagogues across Germany and Austria, and destroyed Jewish-owned shops and businesses.
The far-right AfD is now the biggest opposition party in Germany’s parliament.
The United States suffered its worst anti-Semitic attack in October when 11 people were gunned down at a Pittsburgh synagogue. – AFP