Ger­many and France warn of rise in anti-Semitism

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY TIM SMITH

CHAN­CEL­LOR An­gela Merkel and Ger­many’s main Jew­ish leader have warned against tol­er­at­ing mod­ern-day 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 Ger- many 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 longheld re­sent­ments, to live out ha- tred and vi­o­lence”, Mrs Merkel 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 put out rel­a­tively quickly only so it would not en­dan­ger neigh­bour­ing houses.

Mr Schus­ter said that, while the Nazis’ SA and SS or­gan­isa- tions were be­hind the pogrom, thou­sands of Ger­mans took part. 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”.

He con­demned the far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many party, which he said has “re­spect for noth­ing” and which was not in­vited to yes­ter­day’s event.

The party en­tered Ger­many’s par­lia­ment last year.

In France, prime min­is­ter Edouard Philippe sounded the alarm over a sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts this year, pledg­ing to in­crease ef­forts to pun­ish per­pe­tra­tors.

Mr Philippe an­nounced on his Face­book page a 69% rise in the num­ber of anti-Semitic acts re­ported to po­lice in the first nine months of 2018 com­pared with the same pe­riod last year.

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