Broken Glass, Shattered Illusions

November 14, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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The anniversary of Kristallnacht occurs on 9 November every year and is commemorated by Jewish communities all over the world…writes Michael Kuttner.

Eyewitnesses to this night of frenzied Jew hatred are becoming fewer and as time marches on the deniers and revisionists become more brazen.

I have a particular personal connection to this event because of my parents’ experiences at that time. My late mother was a young woman in her early twenties, living in Berlin in 1938. As the rampaging mobs swept through the streets of the German capital, destroying, looting and beating up Jews, she and her family watched from their darkened apartment as this tsunami of hate threatened to engulf all in its path. That orgy of organized hate was followed by a summons the next day for her widowed father to report to the railway station from where he and thousands of other Jews were deported across the Polish border. Her father like so many others vanished never to be heard from again.

Kristallnacht-290My paternal grandparents who lived in Karlsruhe also experienced the horrors of Kristallnacht when local citizens rampaged and like others throughout Germany burnt down every Jewish business and Synagogue. This was followed by the arrest of my grandfather and his incarceration in Dachau from where he was “ransomed” some time later. This foretaste of German hospitality eventually ended with my grandparents’ murder in Auschwitz.

Fortunately my parents (two young single people), having seen the writing on the wall some time before, managed to find a safe haven in New Zealand literally weeks before the outbreak of war. They were some of the few lucky ones who not only drew the right conclusions in time and despite the reluctance of the democracies to save Jews somehow made it to safety. The rest of the families on both sides were not so fortunate and most perished in the Shoah.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I watched on TV as Germans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the reunification of their capital. As thousands paraded in torch light ecstasy and the Brandenburg gate became the focal point of the evening it gave me an uneasy feeling knowing that not so many years before the same place had witnessed equally ecstatic mobs, albeit intent on a far more sinister purpose. Was it coincidence or irony that Kristallnacht should have been the date when Berlin was reunified? I do not know how many Jewish people joined in the celebrations but somehow the confluence of dates grated on my conscience.

Listening to the speeches made and comments recorded by dignitaries from many nations there was no missing the sense of immense joy. There is no doubt that what happened twenty-five years ago on 9 November was historic. Berlin was reunited and Germans who had been prisoners of a repressive regime were free at last to join their compatriots in a democratic society. Something however did not sound quite right and it soon dawned on me what it was. These same politicians who were whooping it up hypocritically demand that Israel’s capital be divided and shared.

East Germans & West Germans are ethnically and historically the same stock. The Berlin Wall was designed to prevent those seeking freedom from attaining it.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

Jerusalem has only been the capital of a Jewish Nation. The Arabs who now claim it as their capital never showed until 1967 any interest or connection to it. Even when the Ottomans and Jordan occupied Jerusalem, it was regarded as a backwater, neglected and treated as an unimportant appendage. Moreover the Jordanian ethnic cleansing of Jews and the willful destruction of Synagogues and property more accurately mirrors the actions of Kristallnacht. Most importantly, rather than pining for freedom and reunification, their current ambition is to plunder divide and then murder Jews. Nevertheless, despite the obvious lethal intentions, those in Berlin who celebrated freedom and democracy continue to urge Israel to blithely surrender. The hypocrisy of those who refuse to see that Islamic terror and domination is the ultimate aim is no different from those who labored under illusions of appeasement as the murderous mobs embarked on their campaign of vilification and destruction in 1938. The broken glass in Jerusalem caused by Arab rioters, incited by their leaders, bears testimony to the real agenda. The world, however, does not want to know.

To demonstrate how the memory and lessons of Kristallnacht have become perverted, consider the following few examples from this year’s anniversary events.

In Bergen, Norway, a commemorative evening, amongst whose sponsors was an anti racist group, tried to ban Jews from attending.

In Denmark, a Kristallnacht memorial gathering raised funds for Gaza.

In Holland, an event sponsored by a Hamas supporting group was boycotted by Christian Protestants.

The common thread running through these three mind boggling occurrences is the equating of Nazi Kristallnacht pogroms with Israeli responses to Islamic terror. This perversion of history and delegitimization of the Jewish State is only the latest manifestation of how potent the toxic poison of Judeophobia remains.

Just as the night of broken glass in 1938 shattered the illusions of those who believed that the worst couldn’t really happen, today’s increasingly virulent outbreaks against the Jewish State and Jews worldwide should serve as a wake up call. Will those who continue to labor under the illusion of non existent peace partners, recognize in time the looming menace? Jewish history teaches that we had better do so before it is too late.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.


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