Posts Tagged ‘Kristallnacht’

Anniversaries: Berlin Wall fall – 25 years, Kristallnacht -76 years

November 9, 2014

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was something I watched unfold, live, on TV 25 years ago. And it is surely something to be remembered and celebrated.

But tonight is also the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938 when the Nazis went on their rampage against Jews throughout Germany and Austria and East Prussia. That needs no celebration but it does need to be remembered.

And without Kristallnacht there would have been no Cold War and no Berlin Wall.

Kristallnacht: Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Martin Gilbert writes that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world. The Times wrote at the time: “No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.”

The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew living in Paris. Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.


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