Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kristallnacht: Never again?

Bettmann / Corbis 

The Night of Broken Glass
On November 9, 1938, Jewish people in Germany and German-controlled territories were beaten, arrested and killed. Synagogues were burned and Jewish businesses were vandalized. In most cases, the police made no effort to control the mobs that carried out these crimes. 


Kristallnacht, literally, "Night of Crystal," is often referred to as the "Night of Broken Glass." The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.

Instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth, Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom—broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence. 

In its aftermath, German officials announced that Kristallnacht had erupted as a spontaneous outburst of public sentiment in response to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, had shot the diplomat on November 7, 1938. A few days earlier, German authorities had expelled thousands of Jews of Polish citizenship living in Germany from the Reich; Grynszpan had received news that his parents, residents in Germany since 1911, were among them. 

Initially denied entry into their native Poland, Grynszpan's parents and the other expelled Polish Jews found themselves stranded in a refugee camp near the town of Zbaszyn in the border region between Poland and Germany. Already living illegally in Paris himself, a desperate Grynszpan apparently sought revenge for his family's precarious circumstances by appearing at the German embassy and shooting the diplomatic official assigned to assist him. 

Vom Rath died on November 9, 1938, two days after the shooting. The day happened to coincide with the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, an important date in the National Socialist calendar. The Nazi Party leadership, assembled in Munich for the commemoration, chose to use the occasion as a pretext to launch a night of antisemitic excesses. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, a chief instigator of the pogrom, intimated to the convened Nazi 'Old Guard' that 'World Jewry' had conspired to commit the assassination and announced that, "the Führer has decided that … demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered."


 German children watch as a synagogue in Kuppenheim, Baden Germany, burns during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. November 10, 1938.
Photo credit: Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.

Over two days some 90 Jews were killed in an orgy of violence, while around 30,000 Jewish males were rounded up for deportation to concentration camps. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned or damaged. 

The Manchester Guardian's first reports of the pogrom appeared on 11 November 1938. 


The Manchester Guardian, 11 November 1938. .

The following day, the paper carried a number of reports and pictures about the attacks, including the news that anti-Jew laws were to be introduced in Germany.

  The Manchester Guardian, 12 November 1938. 

There was a piece about the 'Aryanisation' of Jewish property as well as a chilling interview with a Manchester woman who had been caught up in the violence and arrests.


The Manchester Guardian, 12 November 1938.


Two survivors recall horrors of Kristallnacht

by alberta lindsey, the associated press 

richmond, va. | It was Nov. 10, 1938, about 2 p.m. Eleven-year-old Alex Lebenstein stood frightened in the front yard of his family's home in Haltern, Germany.

"All of a sudden, these people came around the corner screaming anti-Semitic slogans. A boy I had been in kindergarten with was shooting at me with a slingshot. It was the first time I had seen my father totally defenseless. I put my hand in his and I felt sweat from his hand on mine," Lebenstein recalled.

For survivors of Kristallnacht, the terror is as fresh in their minds now as the day Jews were attacked throughout the German Reich. Lebenstein still gets emotional when sharing his story.

"One of the men grabbed my father by the shoulder and spit in his face. They tore his World War I medals from his shirt and stomped them into the ground. They started beating my father. Furniture started flying through the windows. My mother was screaming: 'Let's get out of here. They are killing us.' We slipped out a back street, hoping the men would be finished soon and we could go back home," he said.

About 130 miles away in Mainz, Germany, Ruth Rosenberg, 13, also was scared. Ten Nazis searched for guns in the apartment where her family lived.

"We didn't have any. I had never seen a gun," Rosenberg said. "They went all through the apartment. They couldn't open one cabinet, so I took a screwdriver and forced the cabinet open."

Now Richmond, Va., is home for Lebenstein, 77, and Rosenberg, 79. They recalled Kristallnacht, the government-sponsored attack on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938.

Rosenberg tries not to dwell on her memories, but Lebenstein still dreams about the events of that time. It was the worst two days of his life, he said. In an effort to make something positive out of the horrors of Kristallnacht, Lebenstein returned to his hometown in 1995. A letter from two high school students in Haltern asking him to tell them about Kristallnacht changed his mind. He still has the letter.

Since then, he has made several trips to Haltern and has already been invited to return next year. "I feel a responsibility to teach the truth. To teach people to be tolerant. That's my responsibility. That's why I go there," he said.

 1,406 Destroyed Synagogues
Many synagogues in the Württemberg, Baden and Hohenzollern regions were "set
on fire by well-disciplined and apparently well-equipped young men in civilian clothes," reported US Consul-General Honaker, noting that the process was "practically the same" in all cities. "The doors of the synagogues were forced open. Certain sections of the building and furnishing were drenched with petrol and set on fire. Bibles, prayer books and other sacred things were thrown into the flames," he wrote. A total of 1,406 synagogues were burned down. 

Then they began smashing shop windows. The shops were easy to identify, especially in Berlin. A few months earlier, Nazis had forced Jewish shop owners in the capital city to write their names in white paint and large letters on the shop windows. 

The second wave came during the course of the next day, as the Hungarian chargé d'affaires reported from the German capital: "In the afternoon, after school, 14- to 18-year-old teenagers, mostly members of the Hitler Youth, were unleashed on the shops. They forced their way into the businesses, where they turned things upside down, destroyed all furniture and everything made of glass, jumbled all the merchandise and then, while cheering for Hitler, left the scene to search for other places to ransack. In the city's eastern districts, the local populace also looted the devastated shops."
As instructed, the perpetrators were not wearing party uniforms. Goebbels wanted the public to believe that the pogrom was a reflection of "the justified and understandable outrage of the German people" over the death of Rath, the diplomat -- and that the police were powerless. 

But none of the diplomats believed this version of the events, especially, as a Brazilian embassy counselor scoffed, in a country with the "most powerful, tightly organized, perfectly equipped and most brutal police force in the world, in the best possible position to promptly suppress any turmoil within the population." 

The 'Unimaginable' on the Way to Reality
The uniformity of the approach in hundreds of cities and villages was enough to expose this lie...


There are many, MANY historical documents which share of the horrors of Kristallnacht, and many of those include eye-witness reports of those who survived.  Even so, to this day, there are deniers out there who insist that a) none of these atrocities happened, or b) this could never happen in today's society.

Just as in 1938, today's politicians choose to turn a blind eye - a deaf ear -  to the murder and terrorism carried out in the name of political or religious bigotry.   As always, Jews remain under constant attack, even within the US.  In December 2011, I wrote a column here about Kristallnacht In Highland Park:

Not content to keep the violence to New York City (Brooklyn and Queens), anti-Semites have decided that the Jews of Highland Park, New Jersey must be the next victims on their list.

The central New Jersey community of Highland Park was targeted Tuesday night in a series of anti-Semitic attacks on at least five Jewish-owned establishments.

Vandals hurled bricks through the plate glass windows of a kosher restaurant, a kosher pizza shop, two Judaica stores, and a Jewish-owned hardware store.

At least three other Jewish-owned establishments in nearby New Brunswick were also similarly attacked, including the Rutgers Chabad House, the Rutgers Hillel and an Israeli-owned falafel eatery....

More here.

This is ongoing, but you rarely see it in the msm.  There was this in 2012:


Colin Flaherty 

If Chaim Amalek had his way, no one would know that mobs of black people are attacking and beating and robbing Jews in the New York area.

Or that they shout anti-Semitic epithets.

Or that they target Jews because “they don’t fight back.”

“Such information can only serve to heighten racial tensions between these two groups,” said Amalek, an alias for New York video blogger Luke Ford. “Let us all look beyond the issue of race (in any event a mere social construct) and instead celebrate our diversity.”

In this case, the New York Post saw a pattern that most other media outlets never see. To some, it was jarring.

 “Anti-Jewish crime wave,” read the June headline about a series of recent anti-Semitic attacks. “In the most disturbing incident, a mob of six black teenagers shouting, ‘Dirty Jew!’ and ‘Dirty kike!’ repeatedly bashed Marc Heinberg, 61, as he walked home from temple in Sheepshead Bay (in June.) 

This is one of several black mob attacks on – and robberies of – Jewish people in Brooklyn over the last two years, leaving broken bones and life-threatening injuries in their wake...

Much more here. 

This was no isolated incident, and for those paying attention, there IS documentation out there that to be Jewish is STILL a life-threatening existence, continuing to this day.  Atlas Shrugs is one of the few media to shine a light on ongoing crimes against Jews in America.  That site has many with titles such as: 

Real hate: Little Jewish Girls Attacked, Called ‘Dirty Jews’ in Brooklyn



Atlas Shrugs has MANY more here.

 "Never again" rings very hollow, doesn't it?


 This holds true for Christians of all stripes, and there are daily reports of Catholic Churches around the globe being razed to the ground, and their Church members being rounded up and murdered.  And still the world says - and does - nothing.  From  Catholic Online in May this year:

Where is President Obama as Egypt's Coptic Christians Die and Churches Burn?

Last week, hundreds of Coptic Christians in Egypt stood up to a mob of 20 thousand Muslims. They risked their lives to protect their church, their religious freedom and each other. As Copts continue to suffer and die and their churches and property are destroyed, Christians have begun to notice President Obama's silence.

KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - According to Asia News, Coptic Christians are experiencing an escalation of attacks by Islamists, and they are becoming a daily occurrence. Asia News reported two attacks that occurred last week. Furthermore, as Copts continue to suffer and die and their churches and property are destroyed, Christians have begun to notice President Obama's silence.

On May17, over 20 thousand Muslims attacked the church of St. Mary in Alexandria. They set fire to the entrance of the building and shattered the windows. In response to the attack, hundreds of courageous Copts formed a human wall around the perimeter of the church, effectively using their bodies as shields against the huge mob. Some Islamists were armed with guns and knives. They shot at the Copts, causing some serious injuries...
 From Egyptian Streets in August 2013:

 Coptic churches burn amid violence in Egypt 

Coptic Christians call for greater protection as wave of violence sweeps across Egypt
By Mohamed Khairat, Founder,


St. Mary Church in Fayoum attacked, looted

Violence in Egypt has taken a dark turn for sectarianism as more than 45 churches and Coptic institutions were torched or stormed across the country.

The wave of attacks against Copts and their houses of worship, businesses, schools and homes came as Egypt’s security forces dispersed two large pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo.

In cities across Egypt, from Sohag and Minya to Cairo and Assiut, Islamists took to the streets attacking churches. In one case in Minya, a Coptic man and his wife were detained before being killed by armed individuals.

In one incident, Islamists torched parts of one of Egypt’s oldest churches that was reportedly built in the 4th Century.

In a frantic email to Egyptian Streets, a Coptic student in Minya said, “They are burning everything we own, and there is no security in sight. Is this Islam? Is this what the Muslim Brotherhood want? To burn Egypt to the grounds!”

More here. 

In one week alone, reports Joel Rosenberg,

Violence out of control in Egypt. Over 700 dead. Upwards of 40 churches burned.

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2013
 Go read the accompanying article here.

This targeting is not unique to Egypt. reports surface of Christians around the world being murdered.

 In Nigeria:

Adu, Nigeria – Gabriel Anthony, 25, was steeped in quiet, prayerful devotion at 5 a.m. on Sunday (Sept. 1) in this northern Nigerian village when he heard gunshots.

“Within minutes, bullets were piercing into our rooms,” Anthony told Morning Star News. “I escaped from my room by jumping through the window.”

A half hour later, seven of his relatives in Adu village, Kaduna state, were dead, including his father, 60-year-old Anthony Nkom; his mother, 45-year-old Asabe Anthony; his brother, 35-year-old James Anthony; and another brother, 37-year-old Andrew Anthony. Also killed were three of his nephews – 5-year-old Meshack Aaron, 12-year-old Bulus James Anthony, and 15-year-old Happiness Anthony.

The bodies of Happiness and Meshack were buried in one grave, and those of the other five in another.

Besides these seven people, two other Christians in the village were killed and three were wounded in the attack by more than a dozen ethnic Fulani Muslims, Anthony said. All of those killed were members of the St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Adu....

Again, not an isolated incident in Nigeria, or in many other countries around the world. In Iraq:

Attacks against Christians in Iraq ongoing

24 April 2013  |  Christian Newswire

Islamist extremists want Iraq to be a "Muslim only" country. As a result, Christians in Iraq remain continuous targets of violent attacks.

Each month Open Doors field workers receive sad phone calls and emails of Christian acquaintances who report attacks against the Christians near them. While most of them are part of the general violence, such as bomb attacks and mortar fire which intensified during provincial elections last Saturday, a part of the violence can be labelled as specifically targeted against Christians.

"If these attacks take place in a Christian neighbourhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighbourhoods and villages," said an Open Doors field worker.

"Since the fall of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago, an estimated 1,000 Christians have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society."
A Christian in Mosul was the target of two attacks in one week last March. After the first bomb exploded in his house on a Wednesday, a second one was thrown over his fence on Sunday. The Christian saw two young men running away. The second bomb, wrapped in a black bag and a women's t-shirt, was deactivated by a military engineering team.

In early April, Adbuljabar Khidher Toza, another Christian from Mosul, wasn't so fortunate. Armed men shot him to death in front of his house.

All these targeted attacks serve only one purpose, shares the field worker:

"We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a 'Muslim only' country; they want the Christians out."

Louis Raphael Sako, the newly-elected Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Iraq and Syria, says he is afraid of what Islamist rule would mean for Christians.

"People are afraid of a kind of Islamic state as it was in the seventh century where Christians would be considered second-class citizens," he said.

According to Open Doors' 2013 World Watch List materials, there are only an estimated 330,000 to 350,000 Christians left in Iraq. There were more than 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s. Many of the believers have fled to Jordan and Lebanon or to the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. Iraq is ranked No 4 on the list of the worst persecutors around the globe....

Read the rest here.    

From Iran - where there has been a 'crack down on Christians' in recent years:

Iranian Christian flogged after drinking Communion wine

Published 01 November 2013

An Iranian Christian was flogged on Wednesday, according to rights groups, after a court in Rasht, Iran sentenced him and three other Christians to 80 lashes for drinking wine as part of a Holy Communion service.

According to the Middle East Correspondent for Morning Star News, Behzad Taalipasand, a convert from Islam, received the 80 lashes after being arrested on December 31, 2012 and sentenced this month for drinking alcohol, quoting two sources -- Middle East Concern (MEC) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide...

More details here. 

That is but an overview, and a a few examples of Jews and Christians being murdered with impunity. I won't even get into the insanity of the daily attacks on Jews withIN Israel, and the ongoing Iranian commitment  to wiping Israel off the map (aided and abetted by the current US administration - and the UN.)

And the list goes on and on and on of Christians being prosecuted, murdered:  Kenya, Syria, Iraq.   For ongoing coverage of these crimes against Christians that world msm and politicians choose to turn a blind eye to, go to Jihad Watch, who has daily updates.

And the world shrugs, just as it did in 1938. Just as the world chose to ignore the genocide led by Hitler, today it seems that the global community continues to cling to their wilful ignorance.

  Kristallnacht: Never again?  

Holocaust Survivor Henry Greenbaum so aptly says in this video: "Human beings are capable of doing anything."  As current events continue to prove we  ignore - or choose to 'forget' such atrocities at our peril.

NEVER again? NEVER forget: Tyranny STILL rampages in neighbourhoods around the world.

Educate yourself. Pay attention.


Findalis said...

Kristallnact was not the beginning of the terror, that had been going on since 1933 and Hitler's election. Nor was it the culmination of the terror, the death camps and crematorium were to come next. No Kristallnact was the monster coming out of the shadows and into the light.

Just like 1938 we are living in the same times. Anti-Semitism was once the domain of the uneducated and White supremacist trying to bolster their self-esteem by bring down another person. Today we see the same Anti-Semitism spouted by highly educated people who know that they can spout this old hatred without any fear.

Today it is just a few acts of violence, tomorrow it will be a full blown pogrom. And like Germany in 1938, the police and fire departments will either do nothing to stop the burning or join in the pogrom.

SR said...

All of this is happening across this world...STILL...and it is happening in THIS country.