Germany and France warn of rise in anti-Semitism
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.