German deputies and leaders celebrate the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht

Members of the Knesset commemorated the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht in a ceremony in parliament on Tuesday together with German Christian leaders from the March of Life organization.

The head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) and caucus members Merav Ben-Ari (Yesh Atid) and Ruth Wasserman Lande (Blue and White) participated in the ceremony marking the “Night of the broken glass of 1938 “. , ”In which more than 1,000 German and Austrian synagogues were attacked, dozens of Jews were killed, hundreds were beaten, Jewish-owned businesses were looted and 30,000 Jews were imprisoned, many of whom were later sent to concentration camps.

At the Knesset ceremony marking the anniversary, March of Life founder Jobst Bittner acknowledged his sense of personal responsibility for the horrific attack.

“Many Germans were responsible for this planned pogrom, and many more just stood, indifferent, silent,” he said. “These Germans were our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers.”

Since 2007, the March of Life organization has united Jews and Holocaust survivors, along with descendants of Nazi perpetrators, in reconciliation and memorial marches to combat anti-Semitism and support Israel. To date, marches have been held in 25 countries and more than 400 cities in partnership with Christians and Jews from around the world, as well as members of the Knesset. In 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, March of Life events were held at more than 100 locations in 24 countries, reaching millions through online broadcasts of the live events.

Contemplating the Kristallnacht Massacre, November 1938. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“Eighty-three years later, anti-Semitism is rampant not only on social media; synagogues around the world are frequently vandalized and Jews are not safe on the street, ”Bittner said. “On top of all this, Israel faces delegitimization attempts by BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and threats of annihilation from their enemies. On this solemn anniversary, we want to assure the Jewish people and the State of Israel that we will not remain silent as our parents and grandparents did in the 1930s, but that we will continue to raise our voices publicly with marches for Israel and for the Jewish people. . “

HASKEL and Ben-Ari spoke about their family connections to the Holocaust, as well as their past experiences at March of Life events in Germany along with hundreds of German Christians who joined public marches to show their support for Israel and the people. Jewish.

“Unfortunately, the attacks perpetrated 83 years ago are still going on to this day, with synagogues threatened and individual Jews fearful of exposing their identities in Europe,” Haskel said. “The important difference is that we now have organizations like the March of Life on our side working to strengthen the global voice against anti-Semitism and strengthen international support for Israel.”

Ben-Ari said his grandfather escaped almost certain death only because those who were about to shoot him began to retreat after learning of a nearby German defeat in Libya. He said that Bittner is the son of one of those officials stationed in Libya.

“Because his father lost a battle, my grandfather survived,” he said. “Today, we come together to commemorate the lives lost due to anti-Semitism and we pledge together to defend the rights of the Jewish people to live freely, especially in their homeland.”

KCAC Director Josh Reinstein, who coordinates 50 Israel Allied Caucuses in governments around the world, said: “Confronting the atrocities of the past together with today’s Christian allies is the best way to ensure that we can have confidence. when we say ‘Never again’ “.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy addressed the Knesset plenum to commemorate Kristallnacht and called on nations to fight anti-Semitism, remember the memory of the Holocaust and the sanctity of Holocaust victims.

“Kristallnacht was not another pogrom in the violent chain of pogroms against the Jewish people, but a warning sign to an entire Jewish community that a catastrophe was imminent,” he said. “It was a catastrophe on a scale that humanity had never seen before. It was inconceivable that synagogue windows were smashed and Torah scrolls burned. “

Levy said the burning anti-Semitic hatred that ignited synagogues in 1938 has not disappeared from the world.

“He shows his ugly face on social media, sprinkles swastikas on tombstones and drives the killing of Jewish worshipers on Shabbat,” he said. “This as we saw it in Pittsburgh three years ago. I call on the nations to unite in the war against anti-Semitism, remember the memory of the Holocaust and the holiness of the victims of the Holocaust. It is our national and historical responsibility to tell the horrible stories of those who are no longer with us. We must do everything possible to ensure that future generations know ‘Never Again’.

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