Germans commemorate ‘Night of Broken Glass’ terror as antisemitism is on the rise again
In schools, city halls and synagogues across Germany, as well as in churches, synagogues and the parliament, people gathered to mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass”, when Nazis terrorized Jews in Germany and Austria.
The Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Germany’s leading Jewish leader Josef Schuster were scheduled to speak during an anniversary ceremony in a Berlin Synagogue which was attacked last month with firebombs.
The pogrom commemoration comes as Germany again sees a sharp increase in antisemitism after Hamas’ brutal attacks that killed 1400 people in Israel and started a war in Gaza on October 7.
“I was in Vienna during Kristallnacht.” “I was in Vienna at the time,” Holocaust survivor Herbert Traube told an audience in Paris marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht on Wednesday.
“To me, ‘Never Again’ was repeated in every statement for decades,” Traube added, adding that the antisemitism resurgence and lack of “massive public reaction” to it both upset him.
The Nazis vandalized 7500 Jewish businesses and killed 91 people on Nov. 9, 38. According to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, they also destroyed more than 1,400 Jewish synagogues.
Up to 30,000 Jewish males were arrested and many of them sent to concentration camps like Dachau or Buchenwald. Many more died or committed suicide as a result mistreatment suffered in the camps, years before mass deportations started.
Kristallnacht marked a turning-point in the persecution of Jews, which led to the death of six million European Jews during the Holocaust by Nazis and their supporters.
There’s no comparison with the pogroms of 85 years ago that were sponsored by the Nazis. But many Jews in Germany and throughout Europe are living in fear, hiding their identities in public, and avoiding areas where violent pro-Palestinian demonstrations were held recently.
Jews in Berlin were bullied and discriminated against in schools and universities throughout the country.
Scholz, among other leaders, has pledged to protect Germany’s Jewish Community.
Anna Segal, manager of Berlin’s Kahal Adass Jisroel, the Jewish community that was targeted in a firebombing attempt last month, told The Associated Press there is not enough being done to safeguard them and the other Jews living in Germany.
She claimed that the 450 community members live in fear and that the authorities haven’t fully responded to their calls for increased security.
Segal stated that “the nice words, the expressions and solidarity with the Jews – we’re not very satisfied how this has been translated in action to date.” Segal said, “I don’t think there is any clear commitment to invest everything necessary in the security of Jews.”