Alina Dain Sharon/JNS.org –
While commemorations for the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht took place around the world last weekend, remembrance of the atrocity does not address the problem of modern anti-Semitism, which is often masked as anti-Zionism, the Simon Wiesenthal Center says.
During Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” from Nov. 9-10, 1938, Nazi officials and German civilians killed more than 90 Jews and vandalized more than 7,000 businesses, a turning point in the Nazi era that foreshadowed the Holocaust atrocities to come.
Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Kristallnacht “one of the darkest moments in German history.” As part of the commemorations during the anniversary weekend, Germans in Berlin polished about 5,000 “Stolpersteine” (stumbling blocks), plaques marking the names of Jewish Holocaust victims next to their last known addresses. About 120 Berlin-area stores located in areas of the city that were targeted in 1938 stuck adhesive posters to their shop windows displaying patterns of broken glass.
But according to Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Kristallnacht has been made into “an icon by left-wing anti-racist movements in Europe.” While those movements commemorate the atrocities of the Holocaust, their definition of racism also includes the state of Israel and its grievances against the Palestinians.
Storefronts of Jewish-owned businesses damaged during the Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 10, 1938. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Meanwhile, seven decades afer the Holocaust, modern European Jews are still significantly affected by prejudice. Almost one-third (29 percent) of European Jews have considered emigrating over the past five years because they did not feel safe as Jews in their home country, according to a surveyreleased last weekend by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Twenty-one percent of respondents experienced anti-Semitism through a physical attack or another form of harassment during the last year, and 52 percent said they fear their children will be subjected to a physical anti-Semitic attack. Additionally, an October poll from the same European agency revealed that many European Jews hide their faith in public due to fear of anti-Semitism, including about half of 800 respondents from Sweden.
In many cases, the “anthropoligization” of the Holocaust in Europe has made it into “a camouflage for hate itself,” Samuels told JNS.org.
For instance, the Berlin Jewish Museum organized an international conference titled “Anti-Semitism in Europe Today: the Phenomena, the Conflicts” to mark Kristallnacht’s anniversary, featuring anti-Zionist keynote speaker Brian Klug.
Klug is “a British Jewish anti-Israel activist who, by commission or omission, gives cover to anti-Semites among the extreme left and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaigners,” Samuels wrote in a Nov. 4 Israel