The German Chancellor has pledged to protect Germany's Jews, in the face of rising anti-Semitism since the start, of the Israel-Hamas war.
Across Germany, people from various institutions, including schools, city halls, synagogues, churches, and parliament, gathered on Thursday to mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the "Night of Broken Glass," which occurred in 1938 when the Nazis terrorized Jews across Germany and Austria.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany's primary Jewish leader, Josef Schuster, delivered speeches at a Berlin synagogue to commemorate the anniversary. This particular synagogue had been targeted with Molotov cocktails just last month. Chancellor Scholz has made a commitment to safeguard Germany's Jewish community, especially in the face of increasing anti-Semitism following the Israel-Hamas war.
On 9 November 1938, the Nazis killed at least 91 people and vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses. They also set fire to over 1,400 synagogues, as reported by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Approximately 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, with many sent to concentration camps like Dachau or Buchenwald. Hundreds of others either took their own lives or perished due to mistreatment in the camps before the official mass deportations began.
Kristallnacht was a pivotal moment in the escalating persecution of Jews that ultimately culminated in the Holocaust, during which the Nazis and their supporters murdered 6 million European Jews.
On the anniversary that marked the beginning of the Holocaust, Olaf Scholz expressed his shame and outrage, emphasizing that any form of anti-Semitism poisons society and will not be tolerated. He reiterated the promise made since 1945: "Never again." He stressed the importance of honouring this promise not only in words but, above all, in actions.
The central memorial event also saw the presence of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other high-ranking representatives from the state, churches, and various social groups.