During the night of November 9-10, 1938, a critical event took place in Germany that would seal the fate of six million European Jews. That was 81 years ago. The event is known as Kristallnacht or “The Night of Broken Glass.” The reason given by the Nazis was the assassination of German official Ernst vom Rath, shot two days prior by Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish teenager reacting to his parents’ deportation. In reality, the boycott/pogrom of Jewish synagogues, schools, businesses and homes resulting in the death of almost 100 Jewish people and the destruction of 7,500 properties were well planned, and anything but a reaction to the death of a German official. Additionally, 30,000 Jewish people were sent to concentration camps. Historians agree that Kristallnacht was the onset of the Holocaust, shifting nazi antisemitism from mere rhetoric to pure violence.
So, it is very important to remember Kristallnacht and tell our children about it, especially in light of current world events. We have seen an increase in acts of antisemitism worldwide, in several cases leading to the death of people in Europe and the United-States. Antisemitism is now becoming a reality almost on a daily basis. It can no longer be ignored, and yet in the eyes of many, it is not really that important of an issue. Too many people seem to suffer from the “I am not Jewish” syndrome!
In his book, Every Day Remembrance Day: A Chronicle of Jewish Martyrdom, the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal listed six major causes that could lead to another Holocaust:
1. Hatred (prejudice, racism, xenophobia or antisemitism).
2. A dictatorship or totalitarian regime.
3. A bureaucracy.
5. A crisis, becoming an opportunity to blame people.
6. A scapegoat people such as a minority to demonize.
It should become very clear to us that in 2019 all the elements are in place again:
1. Antisemitism is at its worse since the end of World War Two with Jewish people being killed again.
2. Radical Islam is plaguing Western civilization and is now clearly starting to infiltrate various governments and hold key positions in Europe and the United States
3. Many people, especially on the left are relying on big government taking over and controlling more and more.
4. The internet and social media have rendered communication global and instantaneous.
5. Various economic hardships, demographics migrations and other crises are looming over the planet.
6. The Jewish people continue to hold first place as the “Scapegoats of humanity.”
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is becoming mainstream. So mainstream that people don’t bother checking if any of its accusations are based on facts or fiction. People in Hollywood, in government and even in several Christian denominations are doing their best to cripple Israel and the Jewish people. They are not trying to bring justice to the middle east as they would want us to believe but rather, they want to completely eradicate Israel from “Palestine”.
This is why it is of utmost importance to remember Kristallnacht, year after year because the further we move away from 1938, the easier it becomes for deniers and historical revisionists to push their anti-Jewish propaganda onto an uneducated crowd, too often willing to blame the Jews. We are not immune to another Kristallnacht. In fact, I believe that we have been seeing a series of micro-Kristallnachts for the last several years. Every time we see a Jewish cemetery defaced, a synagogue covered with swastikas or other graffiti, or a Jewish storefront destroyed, we witness Kristallnacht all over again, and yet, people move on and forget.
The Kristallnacht of yesterday is anchored in history, but the Krystallnachts of today are being repeated in front of our very eyes with very little reactions from what seems to be an apathetic community. It is all in place for the Jews to pay the price again, except that in 2019 as opposed to 1938, we have Israel and we still have friends, especially within the evangelical community. I just wish they would be more vocal and more committed.