Friday, 9 November 2018

Kristallnacht - Lest we Forget

Tonight is the eightieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass", the infamous pogrom against the Jews throughout Nazi Germany carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians. On the night of 9th/10th November 1938, the streets of German towns were strewn with sherds of glass from destroyed Jewish flats, shops and places of worship. At least 91 people were killed, 1000 synagogues were damaged or destroyed cemeteries were damaged, over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.

The new streetscape 1938
This took place about ten days after the infamous Polenaktion (expulsion of Polish-born Jews from Germany). It was due to his anguish at the fate of his family - expelled from Hannover - that led to Herschel Grynszpan, Polish teenager to assassinate German diplomat Ernst Eduard vom Rath in Paris the death of whom was the pretext for Kristallnacht.

The Polenaktion Jews were sent east without most of their belongings and only a small number were let through the Polish borders. For most of them, the Poles refused to let these refugees into Poland and they were forced to stay on the German-Polish border. Most of these 17,000 expelled Jews would remain in refugee camps on the border for almost a year before getting into Poland after the Nazi invasion - when many of them were soon affter rounded up again and placed inn ghettos or (later) camps.

How memories fade and corrupt history. Parts of Central Europe these days:

Gdansk (formerly Danzig) 2017

Death to Enemies of our Fatherland shirts are quite popular

On Sunday there will be a march of right-wing groups through the capital of Poland, 11th November for the Poles is the regaining of Independence after 123 years of foreign domination and repression. But the nationalists have annexed it and are getting stronger and bolder each year under the passive response of the current populist right-wing government of the PiS Party. Sadly this march is what foreign journalists are coming to my city to report on - though there is lots else going on in other parts of the city, some of which I hope to participate in with my family.

For the march: Christian Davies 'Fears of violence as Polish state intervenes in nationalist march' Guardian Fri 9 Nov 2018
Preparations for Sunday’s centenary of the restoration of Polish independence descended into farce this week with a bewildering series of events surrounding a nationalist march due to take place in central Warsaw.

1 comment:

JG said...

Thanks for this remembrance. We need to return the Nationalist troglodytes back to their caves,
Wherever they raise their ugly heads, in the USA, Europe or elsewhere.

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