75 years ago this month, on November 9th and 10th, 1938, in a ferocious orchestrated campaign of anti-Semitism, violence, vandalism and ransacking, Jews and Jewish property were targeted across Nazi Germany and Austria. At least 91 Jews were murdered and hundreds more were injured during the violence. For the first time, Jews were deported to Concentration Camps simply because they were Jewish – 30,000 of them.
Some 267 synagogues, many considered to be of luminous architecture, were burned; almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed and many schools and cemeteries were vandalized.
This infamous night came to be called Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass, for all the shattered store windowpanes that carpeted German streets. Today, in Germany, this horrific night is called Pogrom Night. Essentially, Kristallnacht was the turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, and a significant event in what pursued it, the Holocaust, the systematic extermination of Jews by the eager-to-kill-Jews Nazi Germany.
What the Nazis fundamentally did was not only kill 6 million Jews, they killed 1000 years of Jewish-German culture. They killed art, music, philosophy, science and commerce. The Nazis took Germany into the abyss and darkness of evil and brought to surface the ugliest side of mankind.
This weekend, at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angele, to a full auditorium with Holocaust survivors among the guests, there was a special concert performance in commemoration of Kristallnacht. It was attended by Mr. Stefan Biedermann, Deputy Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany and sponsored by Dr. Stephen Schloss, whose family emigrated from Germany to the United States when he was five years old, and the German Consulate.
Cantors Netanel Baram and Nathan Lam, conductor Roi Azoulay and the Kol-Rina man Choir, against the virtual reconstruction of German synagogues that were destroyed on those two dark days, revived the music of the great synagogues of pre-Nazi Germany era of the renowned hazzans and composers Solomon Sulzer, Louis Lewandowski, Eduard Birnbaum, Yossele Rosenblatt and Israel Alter.
The Kristallnacht riots marked the transition in Nazi policy and was the harbinger of the Final Solution the Nazis had planned for European Jewry.
The result of that policy, which began with systematic legal, economic, and social disenfranchisement of the Jews in Germany and Austria ended up with the murder of one of every three Jews of the Jewish nation.
It is the DUTY of every Jew to continue reminding the world, in any way possible, of the Holocaust, especially the perpetrator, Germany.
While today the Jewish nation is grateful to have risen from the ashes of the Holocaust, to have a homeland, and that Jews thrive again and achieve wonders, the Jewish nation is still exponentially smaller than it was before the Holocaust took place.
Among all the nations of the world, Germany should be leading a forever lasting campaign against anti-Semitism, because today this malevolent disease has again infected far too many in the world, people and nations alike, targeting Jews and the nation state of the Jewish people, Israel.
We must mean it when we say “Never Again“