Czech leader urged to ban neo-Nazi march in Prague

Event slated to take place on November 10 in Prague's Jewish Quarter to mark the 69th anniversary of the infamous 1938 Nazi pogrom.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
October 23, 2007 22:40
1 minute read.

 
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The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging the Czech president to ban a neo-Nazi march scheduled for next month in Prague on the anniversary of Kristallnacht - the 'Night of Broken Glass' - the organization announced Tuesday. The controversial event is slated to take place on November 10 in Prague's Jewish Quarter to mark the 69th anniversary of the infamous 1938 Nazi pogrom. Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish homes were burnt down that night, and tens of thousands of Jews were arrested and deported to Nazi concentration camps during the two-day pogrom, which included the murder of 90 Jews. A Prague City Hall ban on the event, which is being organized by a neo-Nazi group, was revoked by a municipal court on grounds of "civic rights," the human rights group said in a press release. "A hundred million victims of World War II paid the price for the abuse of such rights that rendered democracy itself defenseless," the organization wrote in a letter to Czech President Vaclav Klaus. The Wiesenthal Center urged the president to intervene "to prohibit this threat to public order," stressing that "to do otherwise would taint the Czech Republic's history of courage and fortitude in the face of Nazism and its proud commemoration of its Jewish past." "Prague, more than any other city, must recall the direct line between Kristallnacht and the Munich surrender of Czech sovereignty to Hitler," wrote Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center's director for international relations. Four years ago, authorities issued a last-minute ban of the same march in the wake of intense criticism from Jewish groups in the Czech Republic and around the world. Nearly 120,000 Jews lived on Czech territory before World War II; 80,000 were murdered in the Holocaust. The Czech Republic currently has only a tiny Jewish community of several thousand.

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