Merkel warns against the resurgence of anti-semitism in Germany
ANGELA MERKEL yesterday warned against the rise of renewed anti-semitism in Germany as she marked the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht Nazi pogrom against the country’s Jews.
The German Chancellor’s call came as France revealed that anti-semitic acts had risen by 69 per cent in the first nine months of this year. Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, saw scores of Jews murdered or rounded up on Nov 9, 1938, and signalled the start of the Nazi drive to wipe them out.
At a memorial ceremony in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said: “We should remember it every day, not only on a day of commemoration. Let us work every day to ensure that what happened 80 years ago can never happen again.” Describing the pogrom as a “waymark to the collapse of civilisation” embodied by the Holocaust, she said it had been prefigured by rising anti-semitism at the time. “I am convinced that we can only draw the right lessons if we understand the November pogroms of 1938 as part of a process,” she said.
Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of German Jews, used the occasion to speak out against the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AFD). “They taunt the victims and survivors of the Shoah by relativising Nazi crimes and destroying our culture of remembrance,” he said, using the Jewish word for the Holocaust.
Andreas Wild, an AFD politician, provoked outrage when he attended a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony wearing a blue cornflower, which was used as a secret symbol for the banned Nazi party in 1930s Austria. Mr Wild claimed he was unaware of the flower’s associations. Meanwhile, Edouard Philippe, the French prime minister, announced a worrying hike in anti-semitic acts in 2018 after a two-year drop.
“Every attack perpetrated against one of our citizens because they are Jewish echoes like the breaking of new crystal,” Mr Philippe wrote on Facebook, referring to Kristallnacht.