This year, as has often occurred in the past, some Kristallnacht memorial
meetings in Europe were abused as political instruments rather than serving to
memorialize Jewish victims.
Memorial-day manipulation in Germany goes
back many years. In 1969 on the date marking Kristallnacht, an anarchist-leftist
group painted graffiti on Jewish memorials stating, “Shalom and Napalm” or “El
Fatah.” Additionally, a firebomb was thrown at the Jewish community center in
Berlin. The leftist groups’ common perception was that “Jews who were expelled
by fascism became fascists themselves, who in collaboration with American
capitalism, want to annihilate the Palestinian people.”
Frankfurt’s then-Christian Democrat mayor, Petra Roth, invited Holocaust
survivor Alfred Grosser to deliver the 2010 Kristallnacht speech in Paul’s
Church. This German-born French Jewish intellectual promoted reconciliation
between Germans and the French.
He is a notorious anti-Israel
hate-monger. Grosser used his speech to draw parallels between the conduct of
the Nazis and that of Israel.
This year, another Kristallnacht
manipulation drew much attention.
Weinthal detailed the criticism of a memorial conference at Berlin Jewish Museum. Jewish anti-Israel hate-monger Brian Klug was invited as the keynote
The abuse of Kristallnacht is far from limited to Germany.
On November 9, 2003, in Vienna, a memorial meeting was disrupted by members of
the Sedunia group, who shouted through loudspeakers. They had to be removed by
participants of the meeting. Sedunia is an organization of Muslims and Austrian
converts to Islam.
In the same month a leading Dutch inciter against
Israel, Gretta Duisenberg – the widow of a former president of Europe’s Central
Bank – took part in a demonstration in one of Amsterdam’s main squares. A mock
Israeli checkpoint for Palestinians was set up there. Only the participation of
Palestinian suicide murderers would have made it more realistic.
years ago, the Dutch Jewish community started to organize its own Kristallnacht
memorial meetings in Amsterdam. The other, leftwing dominated commemoration,
downplays contemporary anti-Semitism and focuses on general
Muslim organizations also participate in it, often to promote the
fight against Islamophobia.
They do not speak out against the fact that
the greatest violence in any religion in the world comes out of several Muslim
societies. This year, at least 65,000 Muslims will be murdered by other Muslims
in a number of Arab states. Nor will they mention that the involvement of
Muslims in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is far larger than their proportion
of the population. This has again been confirmed in the recently published study
by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights.
Muslim bodies and
left-wing organizations sometimes play together a major role in this abuse of
In Helsingborg, Sweden, the Jewish community refused to
participate in the 2012 Kristallnacht memorial meeting. Local paper Helsingborgs
Dagblad noted that the community’s leader, Jussi Tyger, said that the memorial
meeting was organized by left-wing parties and Muslims, who are known to be the
most racist against Jews.
In the Norwegian town of Bergen, the November
memorial day is not centered on Kristallnacht, but on the 26th of the month when
cargo ship Donau left Oslo with 552 Jews – the great majority of whom were
killed in extermination camps. They had been arrested by Norwegian police rather
than by German occupiers.
Last year the speakers were leader of the
Socialist Left party Audun Lysbakken and former prime minster Kåre Willoch, both
This was another expression of abuse of
Holocaust memory: extreme anti-Israelis attempting to whitewash their
The local Jews decided not to participate.
American-Norwegian Jew who has participated for years in the event with Jewish
prayers and an original composition wrote on his Facebook page: “I refuse to
participate in the same program as Kåre Willoch. They could not have chosen a
more inappropriate speaker at a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust.”
explained to his American friends in English that Willoch is “extremely
anti-Israel, and has made some terrible anti-Semitic comments.”
year, a young gentile woman pulled out of the Oslo Kristallnacht memorial. She
was meant to speak there, but received a death threat earlier that
There is also wider abuse. UN watcher Anne Bayefsky wrote: “The
Algerian delegate at the 2002 and 2003 United Nations Commission on Human Rights
said that Israeli actions repeat Kristallnacht daily.
He also said that
Palestinians have numbers put on their arms and wondered how long one was going
to wait for the Israelis to commit a massacre like Babi Yar. No state, except
for Israel, drew attention to that statement.”
Of a different distorting
nature is the regular comparing of potential ecological disaster to the
In 1989, then-Senator from Tennessee Al Gore published an
op-ed in The New York Times titled, “An Ecological Kristallnacht.
Gore called upon all humankind to heed the warning: “...the
evidence is as clear as the sounds of glass shattering in Berlin.”
these vignettes above have to be seen in a broader context: the widespread and
increasing abuse of Holocaust memory in general.
The writer is a Board
member and former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.