Kristallnacht 77 Years Later: Can it Happen Again?

The beginning of The Holocaust

The beginning of The Holocaust

Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass, began 77 years ago on November 9, 1938 marked the beginning of the Holocuast. It was the beginning of ethnic cleansing by Germany and eventually by most of Europe. It began a period of horrific times where Jews, gays, Gypsies, the disabled and others were targeted for annihilation. It was a time when many nations including the United States turned their backs and pretended not to notice what was happening in Germany, Poland, Austria and other nations in Europe.

kristallnacht2 (Medium)Congressman Eliot Engel attended the Israel Allies European Summit in Berlin, where he discussed Palestinian incitement, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel sentiment with other members of the German Parliament. Israeli Knesset said “On this night in 1938, the Nazi regime showed the world its true face as shattered glass from Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues littered the streets of Germany and Austria. As Nazis killed 96 Jews and deported 30,000 others to concentration camps, Kristallnacht served as a prelude to the horrors that would soon befall Europe’s Jewish community.” He continued with, “Western governments failed to respond to such horror in a meaningful way, and the Nazis embraced their ‘Final Solution’ in humanity’s darkest chapter, the Holocaust. Nearly eight decades later, the scourge of anti-Semitism can still be found within Europe’s borders, from attacks on Jewish sites to the rise of anti-Semitic political parties.”

Israeli Knesset went on to remind everyone that people should remember the lessons of the past for the future:

“We cannot become complacent as we once were, but must proactively raise concerns when troubling trends arise and call the evil of anti-Semitism by its name. Since the tragic events of the Holocaust, the Jewish people have indeed flourished. But such growth must not be taken for granted, and the international community must remain vigilant against all forms of hatred. From the streets that witnessed the beginning of the Holocaust, today I say never again shall we be passive. And never again shall we let such horrific events become reality.”

We have seen many genocides since the end of World War II. We know of many genocides prior to Work War II including: The Crusades (6,000,000), the Inquisition, the killing of American Indians (2,000,000 – 100,000,000), slave trade to the United States at 5,000,000 (this number is without the number killed while slaves in the United states), the Armenian Genocide (800,000 – 1,500,000), Rwanda Genocide (500,000 – 1,000,000). Genocides continue around the world. Wars between Sunnis and Shiites continue to cause the death of thousands every year. ISIS with its ongoing genocide is a threat to civilization.

Can there be more Kristalnachts and Holocausts?

Yes, they are happening as I type.

kristallnacht-NYTimes1 (Medium)Human beings do not appear to learn from history and history repeats itself. Just as there are still Holocaust deniers there are those who preached as did Joseph Kennedy Sr, Charles Lindburgh, Senator Howard Taft. Henry Luce that the United States should not go to war with Germany and that we should ignore the plight of those beings killed by the Nazis and only think “America First”.

Veterans Day and the commemoration of Kristallnacht are closely related. We recognize all veterans including those who helped in the liberation of Nazi occupied Europe and those in concentration camps. Personally I am most appreciative of Bernadette Ferrara, President of the Van Nest Neighborhood Association for including the commemoration of Kristillnacht in the Van Nest Memorial Day ceremony.

In a statement Ferrara said, “On November 9th, also known as Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass, some 30,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested, their businesses and homes destroyed and most were sent to Nazi concentration camps. This day marks the beginning of The Holocaust. The common thread between War Veterans and Holocaust Victims is persecution and the giving of the highest sacrifice of veterans: their lives for freedom.”


Kristallnacht_example_of_physical_damage (Medium)

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The US Isolationists

The US Isolationists

Congressman Eliot Engel at the Jewish Museum in Berlin

Congressman Eliot Engel at the Jewish Museum in Berlin

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