Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell and millions were liberated from communist tyranny. But today is another anniversary: Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Nazi slaughter of European Jews. Here are the first paragraphs of Rober Wistrich's article about it in the Brussels Journal:
On November 9, 1938, a massive nation-wide anti-Jewish pogrom took place during peacetime across the entire territory of the Third Reich. The pretext for this orgy of violence against German Jews was the shooting in Paris two days earlier of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish-Jewish refugee. The state-organized pogrom, instigated by Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, resulted in the burning or damaging of more than a thousand synagogues; the ransacking of about 7,500 businesses, the murder of at least 91 Jews, and the deportation of another 30,000 Jewish males to concentration camps in Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. This murderous onslaught against German Jewry, cynically described by the Nazis as the “Night of Broken Glass” (Kristallnacht), was a major turning point on the road to the “Final Solution” of the so-called “Jewish Question.” It signified that the Nazi regime had crossed a Rubicon and would no longer be deterred by Western public opinion in its “war against the Jews.” The economic expropriation of German Jewry, its complete social ostracism and public humiliation swiftly followed. Jews were banned from public transport, from frequenting concerts, theaters, cinemas, commercial centers, beaches, or using public benches. Only a fortnight after “Crystal Night,” the SS journal, Das Schwarze Korps, chillingly prophesied the final end of German Jewry through “fire and sword” and its imminent complete annihilation.
Today the specter of such apocalyptic anti-Semitism has returned to haunt Europe and other continents, while often assuming radically new forms. In the Middle East, it has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred, closely linked to the “mission” of holy war or jihad against the West and the Jews.
Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the atrocities of “Crystal Night” and its horrific aftermath during the Holocaust -- for example, the pervasive use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with its perennial theme of the “Jewish conspiracy for world domination;” or the medieval blood-libel imported to the Muslim world from Christian Europe; or the vile stereotypical image of the Jews as a treacherous, rapacious, and bloodthirsty people engaged in a ceaseless plotting to undermine the world of Islam. To these grotesque inventions one must add such more up-to-date libels as Holocaust denial which has become a state-sponsored project in Ahmadinejad’s Iran and is increasingly pervasive in the Arab world.
The whole piece is here.