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Remembering Kristallnacht

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November 9, 2013 by IJV

75 years after Kristallnacht: minorities in danger

On 9th/10th November 1938, Nazi stormtroopers led a wave of violent attacks on Jewish people and property throughout Germany and Austria, which the Nazis had annexed. During these pogroms, 91 Jews were killed, thousands were taken from their homes and incarcerated in concentration camps, 267 synagogues were destroyed, and some 7,500 Jewish-owned shops were smashed and looted.

The Kristallnacht pogroms presaged attempts to remove Jews from German life completely. Many Jews left hurriedly to seek refuge in friendly countries, including Britain, but Britain was already in the grip of an “aliens scare”. Newspaper headlines declared: “Alien Jews Pouring In”, and claimed that “Refugees Get Jobs, Britons Get Dole”. The media accused Jewish asylum seekers of “over-running the country”. Despite wide public revulsion at the violence of Kristallnacht, powerful elements in British politics and business continued to admire Hitler and the Nazi regime. 75 years after Kristallnacht, racists and fascists inspired by the Nazis continue to attack minorities in Europe. In Hungary neo-fascists target Gypsies and Jews. In Greece Golden Dawn members and supporters brutally attack migrants and political opponents. Here in Britain, minority communities, especially Muslims, have been targeted in an atmosphere that is increasingly hostile towards migrants and refugees.

As Jewish people mindful of this history, we are equally alarmed at continuing fascist violence and the toxic sentiments expressed by many politicians and much of the media against migrants, asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers. We stand shoulder to shoulder with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in their efforts to live here in freedom and safety, to contribute to society, and be treated as equals. As Jews we stand together with all communities seeking to combat racism and fascism here and elsewhere.

David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialist magazine

Prof Frank Land, 1939 refugee and Kristallnacht witness

Ralph Land CBE, 1939 refugee and Kristallnacht witness

Sheila Melzak, Clinical Director, Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile

Dr Jennifer Langer, Director, Exiled Writers Ink

John Speyer, Director, Music In Detention

Margaret Hodge MP

David Winnick MP

Lord (Alf) Dubs

Edie Friedman, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Gerry Gable, Editor Searchlight Magazine

Prof Nira Yuval-Davis, Director, Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, UEL

Prof Jacqueline Rose

Prof Francesca Klug OBE, Director of the Human Rights Futures Project

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah

Rabbi Barbara Borts

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Judge Laurence Brass, Treasurer, Board of Deputies of British Jews

Miriam Margolyes OBE

Moris Farhi MBE

Anne Karpf
, journalist

Bernard Kops, playwright and poet

Michael Rosen
, broadcaster and poet

Michele Hanson, writer

Dr Ros Merkin, Writer & Director of Suitcase 1938

Statement by Jewish Socialist magazine BM3725 London WC1N 3XX. To add your name in support of the statement or to see a full list of signatories please contact the magazine.

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One thought on “Remembering Kristallnacht

  1. Noel Hamel says:

    The importance of recognising that all ethnic minorities can be subjected to prejudice and bigotry, scapegoated in times of stress and treated barbarously in the name of natural justice or just reprisal, is very important and significant when confronting fascism and prejudice generally.

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