Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” that erupted across Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 was commemorated across the West and in Israel. There with ecumenical prayer gatherings, concerts of liturgical Jewish music, testimonials by Holocaust survivors, and candles lit in memoriam. In a commemoration on the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht we chronicled the horrors that befell Jews that night:
Kristallnacht -“the night of broken glass” that occurred throughout Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht was Nazi retribution for the assassination an anti-Nazi German diplomat Ernest Vom Rath in the Paris by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynzspan on November 7th, 1938. That event was seized upon by Herr Hitler and his Nazi SA and SS thugs to unleash a torrent of ‘spontaneous’ violence. That violence was graphically set against the lurid flames of more than 1,000 synagogues torched, several hundred of them destroyed, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes broken into, destroyed and vandalized. 91 Jewish men were killed, thousands beaten and more than 30,000 dragged off to concentration camps. Many of the later would never to return to their frightened families, many of whom were to disappear in the Holocaust. Kristallnacht was the prelude to the Final Solution that murdered six million European Jewish men, women and children.
This year Kristallnacht coincided with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. Tens of thousands gathered before Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Eight thousand balloons were released. German Chancellor Andrea Merkel speaking to the multitude at the celebration noted the ‘twinning” of these historic event:
That was the opening note for the murder of millions; I feel not just joy, but the responsibility that German history burdens us with.
Over at the Alexanderplatz, German Police were separating violent rival protests by left wing groups opposing the commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, while so-called nationalist groups who were commemorating the Nazi attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht. On the West Bank, Palestinians celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by symbolically breaking through Israel’s security barrier. In Norway, “Nye SOS Rasisme” , a so-called anti-racist group, demanded that a Bergen community event bar Jews from attending a Kristallnacht commemoration. The group held their own procession featuring banners that said “Zionism is Racism”.
The successor to the Communist party in Germany’s Bundestag, Die Linke, was caught in a moral quandary. That was the inclusion of the self-hating anti-Israel American Jew, Max Blumenthal, son of Hillary Clinton adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, in a Middle East panel at an avant garde theater in the former East Berlin. The Algemeiner noted:
In a letter to Frank Castorf and Thomas Walter – the directors of the famed Volksbühne Theater, the leading German center for avant-garde and experimental performances – Volker Beck of the Green Party and Petra Pau of Die Linke (“The Left”) pointed to Blumenthal’s frequent “anti-Semitic” comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.
The letter, also signed by Reinhold Robbe, a prominent pro-Israel advocate in Germany, explicitly linked the commemoration of the Holocaust with contemporary anti-Semitism, observing that the date of the meeting scheduled for this Sunday, November 9, will mark the 76th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany. The letter asserted that the meeting would allow Blumenthal and his cohort David Sheen, an anti-Zionist activist, “to promote anti-Semitic prejudice by comparing the terror of the Nazis with Israeli policies.” They would do so on the anniversary of an episode “that is recognized as the beginning of the persecution, the deportation, and the killing of over six million European Jews.” The letter introduced itself with a quotation from famed Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw: “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
Gregor Gysi, the leader of Die Linke canceled a discussion with Blumenthal at the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, scheduled for Monday. Gysi reached his decision after Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based journalist and political analyst, presented him with evidence of Blumenthal’s anti-Semitic activities and writings.
Blumenthal visited with some of those Norwegian ‘anti-racists’ in September 2014. Perhaps they were among those who sought to bar Jews attending the Bergen Kristallnacht commemoration. He and his anti-Semite hate colleagues equate Israel with ISIS.
Our colleague, Nidra Poller chronicled in a graphic series of “Gaza –Israel Dateline Paris Dispatches” posted on the Iconoclast this summer the ‘lethal narratives’ of “death to the Jews” . Protests reached the center of Paris erupting in fire-bombing attacks on synagogues, and attacks on Jews and Jewish owned businesses in Parisian suburbs. All perpetrated by rampaging Palestinian supporters, French Muslim citizens and allied leftist groups. They were demonstrating against ‘genocide’ committed against civilians in Gaza under the draconian control of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Palestine, the terrorist group Hamas.
There were the killings at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum of an Israeli couple, and non Jewish workers by a returning French citizen and veteran of ISIS jihad in Syria. Retired Professor Raphael Israeil of Hebrew University would call the perpetrator, Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French national of Algerian origin an Islamikaze, because he was motivated by Salafist doctrine to kill Jews.
Manfred Gerstenfeld, former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in our interview with him spotlighted what is driving European Antisemitism, “Anti-Israelism is Anti-Semitism.” We noted:
Gerstenfled developed an estimate based on several studies and polls that approximately “150 million Europeans have extreme negative views about Jews and the State of Israel.” In an email exchange, Bat Ye’or suggests that Palestianism is the root of “humanitarian racism.” Note how Bat Ye’or defined Palestinism in our interview with her:
Palestinism is a world policy initiated and imposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its Western allies that aims to transfer to Palestinian Muslims the history, the cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish people. . . . Palestinism encompasses all Western-Muslim relationships.
What occurred in Europe today, the triumph of the fall of the Berlin Wall was marred by extremist riots reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. There were bizarre attempts in Norway to exclude Jews from participating in commemorations because they were “racists”. The conceit of these anti-Semites, whether nativist or Islamic is moral inversion. Call it anti-Israelism or Palestinism, it depicts IDF soldiers defending the sovereignty the Jewish nation as the equivalent of Nazi storm troopers.
The Nazis murdered of Six Million European Jewish , Men , Women and Children in the Shoah, Hitler’s Final Solution. A final solution whose prelude was Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany 76 years ago today.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.