Monday, November 11, 2013

That OTHER Rememberance, Nazi Kristalnacht and the November Pogrom

Kristalnacht, night of broken glass, was the night that the retaliatory killing of Ernst vom Rath became the pretext for the Nazi party engaging in widespread acts of violence against Jews, and the seizing of their property illegally by the Nazi party to fund their continuation.

Approximately 1,000 synagogs were destroyed, and more than 7,000 business owned by Jews were destroyed - the 'broken glass' of the historic event's name. Nearly 100 Jews were killed that night, and another 30,000 were rounded up and taken to concentration camps, where another 2,000 died, some of them beaten to death.

And then Jews were fined, to penalize them for Kristalnacht, the ultimate blaming of the victim:
The persecution and economic damage done to German Jews continued after the pogrom, even as their places of business were ransacked. They were forced to pay Judenvermögensabgabe, a collective fine of one billion marks for the murder of vom Rath (equal to roughly $US 5.5 billion in today’s currency), which was levied by the compulsory acquisition of 20% of all Jewish property by the state. Six million Reichsmarks of insurance payments for property damage due to the Jewish community were to be paid to the government instead as "damages to the German Nation"

In Paris, this man,  17 year old Herschel Grynszpan, shot a Nazi, Ernst vom Rath,a killing precipitated by anti-semitism, including the violent and forcible expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany.

Those Jews, born in Germany, whose parents came from other countries.  They were rounded up one night, unannounced, forced to leave carrying only personal items in a single suitcase each, and their property was confiscated by the Nazis to fund their political organization. The policy on a small scale  was a test run for what was continued during and after Kristalnacht on a larger and more official scale.

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1982-174-27, Nürnberg, Ausweisung polnischer Juden.jpg
German Polish Jewish expulsion aka

Ausweisung polnischer Juden

As noted by Reuters yesterday:

Nazi Kristallnacht against Jews remembered as living memory fades

...The 75th anniversary of the infamous pogrom is being marked with ceremonies in Berlin, Vienna and elsewhere this weekend.
Events such as the coming to light last weekend of a huge hidden trove of Nazi-looted art show that many questions and claims for restitution arising from the Holocaust and World War Two remain unresolved.
But the nature of remembrance is changing as governments absorb the work once done by activists, and the focus switches from bringing the perpetrators to justice to educating a generation growing up as the events fade from living memory.
"Time goes by, it's clear. It's not like it was a few years ago. You have to consider that the survivors are dying out," said Beate Klarsfeld, a driving force in hunting down and bringing to justice war criminals including Klaus Barbie.
Klarsfeld, 78, now spends much of her time on educational work, and was invited to Vienna to speak at the opening of a Holocaust exhibition aimed at school classes.
The opening was presided over by a government minister and attended by dignitaries including the head of Austria's Jewish community. But the exhibit itself was buried in the cellar of a Jewish theatre in the Leopoldstadt district outside the city center.
"I think it's important, but it's a shame it's in the basement," said Ari Rath, who fled Vienna as a boy in 1938 and spent many years as editor of the Jerusalem Post in Israel before becoming an Austrian citizen again in 2007.
The situation underlines the ambivalent attitudes to remembrance of Nazi atrocities, especially in Austria, which largely welcomed Hitler's annexation in 1938 but spent decades after the war considering itself the dictator's first victim.
While governments carry out their tasks of remembrance in a dutiful and sometimes heartfelt way, Jewish groups warn against complacency among the general population, citing resurgent anti-Semitism in Europe and newer concerns about Islamophobia.
In a report published on Friday by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, over half of 5,847 Jews surveyed in eight EU countries said they had heard or seen someone claim that the Holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated.
New York Rabbi Marc Schneier, himself the descendant of Viennese Jews, has spent years working to build bridges with the Muslim community and he urged solidarity with other minorities during a visit to Vienna this week.
"Had there been these alliances 75 years ago, it would have been a very, very different story," he told Reuters ahead of a Kristallnacht remembrance event at the Austrian parliament. "It's about fighting for the other."

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