Kristallnacht

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”–George Santayana. The philosopher could well have added that there are those who use history as their play-book.

Through officialdom’s winks and nods, the extreme acts of vandalism and arson throughout Germany and Austria began on this night, 81-years ago. The crude attacks on Jewish businesses, religious sites, and homes became known collectively as Kristallnacht. Many historians say Kristallnacht was the commencement of the many crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis.

Of course, this is a condensed version of the beginning of the Holocaust. Repression and oppression of Jewish people and other minorities across Europe had been a bug in the ointment of European civilization long before November of 1938. If we don’t figure in the antisemitism of ancient times, European style anti-Jewish demagoguery and violence probably dates back to at least 500 C.E. when there were some synagogue burnings. In the year 554, the first of many “Expulsions” took place with the Diocese of Clement Expulsion and continued during The Holy Inquisition.

Even if we limit European antisemitic violence to the 20th century we see that it continued already in 1900. That was the year of the “Mob Attack” on Jewish people in Konitz, Prussia. Even after the defeat of Nazism in Europe, pogroms continued in nearby parts of Africa and the Middle East up to and including 1969 in Iraq.

Anti-Jewish and anti-minorities sentiments have not been limited to the Eastern Hemisphere. This problem was imported to the Americas by European explorers and settlers, beginning in the 15th century. Overt anti-Jewish/anti-minorities demonstrations were marked in recent history at the “Unite the Right Rally” two years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. A mix of neo-Confederates, white nationalists, neo-fascists, neo-Nazis along with various other far-right oriented marchers had gathered. They chanted racist and antisemitic slogans such as the infamous “Blood and Soil” chant.

Toxic beliefs when paired with indoctrination by leaders informed by writings of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and other 20th century radical propagandists are ingredients that can combine with prejudice, hate, and anger into organized mob violence. Such criminal activity can victimize any minority group.

This weekend, we remember the terrorism that took place during Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. We can wish such crimes will never occur again, but history reminds us that they do continue today under slightly different guises.

Ciao
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Israeli historian, Yehuda Bauer. “Thou shalt not be a victim; thou shalt not be a perpetrator; but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Controversy, History, Politics, religion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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