Why is the GA not marking the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht?

A people who only live in the present and forget their past have no future.

By MICHAEL JANKELOWITZ
November 10, 2013 06:17
3 minute read.
A sticker simulating broken glass on a shop window in Berlin to mark 'Kristallnacht' anniversary

Kristallnacht stickers in Germany 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

November 9 and 10 mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria in 1938.

German authorities looked on without intervening.The name “Kristallnacht” comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues that had their windows smashed.

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At least 91 Jews were murdered in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings and set them on fire.Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.the oted historian Martin Gilbert writes that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world.

The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynspan, a German- born Polish Jew resident in Paris.

Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

It is sad that this historic and tragic day in the history of the Jewish people will not be commemorated at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America which is taking place in Jerusalem on this very same day.

Almost 4,000 Jewish leaders from the USA and Canada will convene in Jerusalem this week to mark the most important event of organized Jewry in North America.

For these Jewish leaders and their children born after 1938, Kristallnacht is already just a historic day in the history of the Jewish people.

There is much discussion in Jewish Federations and in Israel on how to take care of the welfare of the remaining elderly Jewish Holocaust survivors in the world today.

However, this important discussion deals with a current need but does not deal with the historic issues of the Shoah. Without commemorating and learning about the events that led up to the Holocaust and murder by the Nazis and their collaborators of 6million innocent Jewish men,women and children future generations of Jews are liable not to learn the lessons of the Shoah.

In Berlin, the capital of Germany, the glass showroom windows of some 100 businesses will be marred by a jagged pattern of broken glass to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht under the slogan, “Take a stand against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism.”

Adhesive film will be used to cover shop windows to create the illusion of large holes and hairline fractures to commemorate the violence unleashed during the infamous event.

These businesses will put the large stickers in their windows to commemorate the attacks which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938.

Violence in the capital city was fuelled by Joseph Goebbels Hitler’s propaganda minister and the local Nazi party leader.

The store window stickers will be concentrated in areas in downtown Berlin targeted by the Nazi looters, including a major shopping street that was a center of the arts and theater during the Weimar Republic.

Berlin’s major luxury department store, KaDeWe, will also be participating † Jewish communities throughout Europe and also in North America will be marking the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

What a shame that at the most important event on the calendar of North American Jewry taking place in Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish People, the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht will not be commemorated and is not even mentioned in the schedule of the Jewish Federations of North Amerca’s General Assembly.

A people who only live in the present and forget their past have no future.

Michael Jankelowitz is spokesman emeritus to the international media at the Jewish Agency for Israel


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