Ger­many re­mem­bers its ‘fall from civil­i­sa­tion’

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - World -

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

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