Weekly Post – the Tree of Life Synagogue and the Night of Broken Glass

Dear readers – this week, rather than highlight one of our speaker’s good works, we’re going to offer a history lesson. You may well already be familiar with this story, if so, you might want to share it with others who aren’t.

 

The following are quotes from The History Channel’s article on Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass”, available at the link. We offer it in memory of that night, 70 years ago next month, and in memory of the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

 

“On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps…

 

“…Soon after Adolph Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in January 1933, he began instituting policies that isolated German Jews and subjected them to persecution. Among other things, Hitler’s Nazi Party, which espoused extreme German nationalism and anti-Semitism, commanded that all Jewish businesses be boycotted and all Jews be dismissed from civil-service posts. In May 1933, the writings of Jewish and other “un-German” authors were burned in a communal ceremony at Berlin’s Opera House. Within two years, German businesses were publicly announcing that they no longer serviced Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in September 1935, decreed that only Aryans could be full German citizens…

 

“…Starting in the late hours of November 9 and continuing into the next day, Nazi mobs torched or otherwise vandalized hundreds of synagogues throughout Germany and damaged, if not completely destroyed, thousands of Jewish homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and cemeteries. Nearly 100 Jews were murdered during the violence. Nazi officials ordered German police officers and firemen to do nothing as the riots raged and buildings burned, although firefighters were allowed to extinguish blazes that threatened Aryan-owned property…

 

“….In the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht, the streets of Jewish communities were littered with broken glass from vandalized buildings, giving rise to the name Night of Broken Glass. The Nazis held the German-Jewish community responsible for the damage and imposed a collective fine of $400 million (in 1938 rates), according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Additionally, more than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to the Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps in Germany–camps that were specifically constructed to hold Jews, political prisoners and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state.”

 

In memory of all those who have died for their belief in a higher power — Quoting El Maleh Rachamim, the Jewish prayer for the dead: “May You who are the source of mercy shelter them beneath Your wings eternally, and bind their souls among the living, that they may rest in peace. And let us say: Amen.

                                               photo credit: TIME Magazine

 


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