9 Nov 2009 by CST


Today is the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, a night of then unparalleled Nazi violence against German Jews. Thousands of synagogues, Jewish shops, businesses and homes were smashed, looted and burnt, at least 91 Jews were killed and thousands were taken to concentration camps. The Center for Online Judaic Studies has put together a collection of historical reports and documents about Kristallnacht and its aftermath, here. The stamp pictured above was issued in West Germany in 1963.

This anniversary has been marked by sober commemoration in Germany:

In the capital, a special service was being held Monday at a memorial outside the Jewish Community of Berlin's building. The event was also to pay tribute to Anne Frank, whose poignant diary has inspired countless people and who would have turned 80 this year had she not died in the Holocaust.

Separately, a candlelight service was being held in the evening at Berlin's Grunewald train station, from which many of the city's Jews were deported.

The anniversary was also noted at services celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The political inheritors of Nazism have also marked the anniversary, in their usual sick way:

Swastikas have been daubed on the wall of the new synagogue in Dresden, Germany, police said on Sunday, the eve of the anniversary of the Nazi's 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom.

Swastikas, which are banned under the German constitution, were drawn in black marker pen on one wall of the synagogue, a statement from police in the eastern German city said.

The drawings were discovered by a patrol unit early on Sunday morning. An investigation has been opened and officials are appealing for witnesses.

The Christian-Democrat Interior Minister of the federal state of Saxe, Markus Ulbig, condemned the desecration. “We will not allow such things to happen. In saxe, there is no place for anti-Semitism,” he said. He was due to visit the local Jewish community on Monday.

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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights