Tolkien, artist

Kristallnacht Remembered

Kristallnacht is a word that resonates with shame down through the years of history. On the night of November 9-10, 1938, organized pogroms occurred throughout Germany specifically targeting Jewish people, businesses and places of religious worship. More than 250 synagogues were burned or destroyed, 7500 Jewish businesses were looted, vandalized or destroyed and almost one hundred Jewish people were killed. It is not unusual in history to have riots or uprisings against one group of people by another. It is not unusual to have violent times where one hundred or more people are lying dead by sunup. What made Kristallnacht infamous, even today, is the fact that this uprising, these murders and this destruction was state sanctioned, state backed, and in many cases carried out by forces representing the elected government.

One of the many burning synagogues throughout Germany
on Kristallnacht.

In this week when we again held elections that could potentially have caused the most powerful political office in the United States to change hands, those elections were, for the most part, peaceful. We held elections that encouraged everybody of legal age to cast their individual vote for the candidate of their personal choice. The people voting were not forced to vote one way or another by gunpoint and they were not kept away from most polling stations by threats of violence. Each voter had their freedom of choice and the elected positions will transfer quietly and peacefully from one person to another if a new person was elected.

Signs such as this existed throughout Nazi-controlled
countries and sometimes still crop up, even now in
'enlightened' times. I hope to never see these again
in my lifetime or yours.

This is unique within world society. This does not happen everywhere. And these freedoms that we take so much for granted are rarely as treasured as they should be. Even though we have a government that sometimes seems to limp along and even though it sometimes seems as if it more resembles a dog chasing its own tail than a panther stalking the best method to solve a problem, we still have a government – an elected government – that tries its best to be a representative government. Is it perfect? Hell no. There are a lot of problems. But despite the problems I'm still proud to be a resident and citizen of the United States of America because in spite of the problems, it's still a pretty good government. And Kristallnacht, which is in the immediate history of my own family, hasn't happened on a nationwide basis in this nation. I hope and I pray that it never will.
I used to just think 'how sad', but since I've had lovely Jewish friends it has hit me just what terrible things have been done to the Jewish people. Man's inhumanity to man is appalling, but at least we live in democracies for all their imperfections.
I can go with "how sad" for an individual murder done one-on-one. The minute the governmental machine gets behind it and it becomes a pogrom or a genocide, I have serious issues. It doesn't have to be the Jews, although I am most familiar with them because I lost most of my family in the camps. It can also be the killing fields of Rwanda or Cambodia or many other nations who have equally abysmal track records for human rights. It takes courage to stand up and say "No". I hope that the next time something like this happens, I have that courage and will be joined by others that will stop a similar persecution in its tracks.

- Erulisse (one L)
People who say that have a horribly short memory of their own ancestral roots. It is rarely the person who actually had been in this continent for one thousand years or more who is saying those words. It is usually someone whose ancestors came over from a different country as an immigrant.

I dislike fanaticism in any forum and keep hoping, against hope, that people learn from one poor example to another. But it so rarely seems to be the case *sigh*.

- Erulisse (one L)
Fortunately my family was able to get out of Eastern Europe before the worst of the Nazi violence came through. You'd think that the human race would have learned by now, but it hasn't. Anyway, I too am very thankful to be in a democracy that has a peaceful political process.
Unfortunately those who learned are not those who are in positions of political power. Still, we are a few steps up from the arbitrary pogroms of Tsarist Russia.

- Erulisse (one L)
Let us not forget it was not ONLY jews it was pagans, it was christians, it was muslims and buddhists; and it was GYPSIES that also were rounded up and prejudiced against.
Absolutely. But not on Kristallnacht. During WWII there were many groups who were considered less than human including homosexuals, Roma, Jews, and believers in religions other than Christian, all of which were rounded up, imprisoned, and in many cases killed standing next to each other.

But Kristallnacht was specifically focused at the Jewish population and was the kickoff because it allowed the government to realize that the people had just handed it carte blanche to persecute whomsoever they chose and there would be no objections.

All of it was VERY BAD.

- Erulisse (one L)
That is one thing I will always be grateful for to the Allied Forces who struck down Germany in WW II: that I got to grow up in a democratic country without Nazi-terror and racism, and that I get to live in a demoractic, civilian, free society to this day as well, down here in Germany. And still, today, we have blood-and-honor grops and neo-nazi groups down here who attack immigrants or homeless people on a regular basis, and all too often the police looks the other way or denies a right-wing or even neo-nazi-background. Still, we are not at the point of gouvernment-backed terror again, yet. I hope we will never again arrive there.
When I was growing up, my mother's friends were virulently anti-German. They refused to purchase German cars, food or books. I thought it was a bit over the top. Fortunately my parents never acted that way. My father subscribed to Das Spiegel throughout his life and traveled to Berlin several times. Mom did return to Austria a few times too. But those friends...oy! I love my German friends and am so pleased to have them.

- Erulisse (one L)
I am constantly horrified by man's inhumanity. I just hope that there is an everlasting justice for those who perpetrate such evils.
There is truly evil walking this world and I'm always grateful that I haven't had to directly face it yet.

- Erulisse (one L)