Tonight is the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the most severe pogrom of the century and the beginning of the end of European Jewry. On November 9-10, 1938, SS officers and German mobs destroyed Jewish property throughout the Reich. Over 90 Jews were murdered, 26,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps, close to 200 synagogues were burnt or razed, and almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed.
While Hitler claimed that the pogrom was a spontaneous outburst following the assassination of German official Vom Rath by Jewish boy, Hershel Greenspan, the attacks were methodically planned. Kristallnacht marked the transition from discriminatory and racist measures to physical violence and terror against Germany's Jews. Despite the violence against Germany's Jews, no country was willing to open their doors to them. As Germany's Jews sought refuge from Nazi hatred and persecution, the world was closing the ways of escape. Paltry protests notwithstanding, the world was largely silent in the face of the orgy of hate that was Kristallnacht. By not heeding the warning signs, 6 million Jews were murdered as the world stood idly by. As half of the world collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate the Jews, the other half closed their eyes and ears to the evil.
If the Holocaust is commemorate once a year on Yom HaShoah, why do we mark Kristallnacht? On Yom HaShoah we mourn the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. We contemplate the barbarity of the Final Solution, the death camps, the killing fields, the gas chambers and ovens. Kristallnacht, however, marks the beginning of the end. Yom HaShoah marks the end product while Kristallnacht is all about the process. Holocausts do not begin with deportations or gas chambers. They begin with words, with demonizations and delegitimization, accompanied by silence.
It is incredible to think that 70 years after Kristallnacht, the world has scarcely learned this lesson. A month and a half ago, the President of Iran spoke before the United Nations, an international organization founded in the wake of the genocide of Europe's Jews, and repeated all of the classic anti-Jewish canards and myths to the applause of world leaders. He told the assembled representers of the world's nations that the current financial crisis is the fault of the Jews. This man put his anti-semitism in vivid display as he repeated the lies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He denies the Holocaust while planning a second one. His hatred for the Jewish people goes ignored by the world leaders, who chose to honour him with a dinner at the Hyatt Hotel. He has called the State of Israel "a stinking corpse", "a rotten tree" and many other vile things. He pledges to finish Hitler's mission and wipe the Jewish state "off the face of the Earth". He funds terror groups around the world and incites his people to genocide. And the world is silent.
This satanic silence during the Holocaust has no better symbol than that of Pope Pius XII. Currently on the road to sainthood, the wartime Pope said and did little to protect Europe's Jews. A man whose word commanded millions of Catholics worldwide and carried moral authority, was not able to clearly condemn the Nazi atrocities against the Jews. When the Jews of Rome were rounded up from right under his window, literally, and send train-bound to Auschwitz, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church held his tongue and allowed the damned to suffocate in the gas chambers. Today, the Vatican seeks to exonerate him from his complicity in mass murder and raise him to the level of a saint. Instead of dealing with its tragic and cowardly history, the Church prefers to whitewash the events of the past.
As the witnesses to this most dark era in human history die out, it is our duty to remember those who died at the altar of hate because the world looked away. Today, the fires of anti-semitism in the Islamic world, Europe and North America burn brightly. The most insidious hate hides behind humanitarian pretenses and seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State. The UN is getting ready for the Second Durban hate-fest. A neo-Nazi leader in Austria was given a state funeral and full miliatry honours, his death having been blamed on the Mossad. On this eve of Kristallnacht, the first nail in the coffin of European Jewry, it is the duty of every moral and decent Jew and non-Jew to protest anti-semitism and hatred in all of its various forms. Otherwise, we do a disservice to the memory of the 6 million, and invite disaster upon ourselves once again.
God full of mercy who dwells on high
Protector of widows and father for the fatherless
Please be not silent and show no restraint
on behalf of the Jewish blood that has been spilled like water.
But grant perfect rest on the wings of Your Divine Presence
In the lofty abode of the holy, pure and valiant
who shine as the brightness of the heavens
to the souls of our brothers and sisters
Six million Jewish
men, women and children
Who were put to death, slaughtered, burned,
starved, buried alive
Or who suffered other forms of unnatural death
at the hands of the accursed Nazis
and their associates - may their name be wiped out!
In Auschwitz, Treblinka, Maydanek, Malthausen
and in other death camps in Europe
And who gave up their lives in order to Sanctify God's name.
Because we are at one with their memory
and we pray for the elevation of their souls
Their resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, shall the Master of mercy care for them
under the protection of His wings for all time
And bind their souls in the bond of everlasting life.
O Earth! Do not conceal their blood
and let there not be a resting place for their cry
In their merit shall the remnant of Israel
return to its rightful place
And as for the holy ones, their righteousness
shall be in front of the Lord as an everlasting memory
They will come in peace and will rest in peace
They will meet their rightful destiny at the end of days
and let us say Amen.
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard, Jewish Vengeance and Stop Raping Israel