84th Anniversary of the start of Kristallnacht

Clearing up after Kristallnacht in Berlin

Clearing up after Kristallnacht in Berlin Credit: Creative Commons

TODAY, November 9 is the 84th Anniversary of the start of Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) whereby the Nazi authorities organised attacks on Jews.

The attacks between November 9 and 10 took place in Germany and German-occupied territories resulting in the arrest of more than 30,000 Jewish men, the destruction of more than 7,500 Jewish businesses and synagogues and marked Nazism’s shift from antisemitic rhetoric to the violent, aggressive anti-Jewish actions that culminated in the Holocaust.

Only 91 Jews were killed that night, but over the seven years between Kristallnacht and the end of World War II, that number swelled to more than six million.

Holocaust scholar, author and filmmaker Joshua M Greene believes that complacency is the best ally of antisemitism and points out that it is growing once again in the USA.

According to statistics reported by the Anti-Defamation League, “Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported.

“This represents the highest number of incidents on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979 – an average of more than seven incidents per day and a 34 per cent increase year over year.”

More than 20 American states have passed Holocaust education legislation but Greene says “Holocaust curriculums should be prevalent in all 50 states. With every election, we celebrate our freedom by choosing the leaders we believe will best represent our values.

“On every Veterans’ Day, we remember those who gave their life and fought hard to preserve those freedoms. Perhaps by adding Kristallnacht to the list of annual remembrances, we can draw attention to how fragile those freedoms are and how vigilant we must be to assure their protection. “

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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