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On the Anniversary of Kristallnacht

11/07/2019 08:40:39 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

“To avenge the brutal abduction of his Polish parents in Germany, 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan, who was living in Paris, on November 7, 1938, walked into the Germany Embassy in Paris and shot Third Secretary, Ernst vom Rath.  For Adolf Hitler, the shooting in Paris provided an opportunity to incite Germans to ‘rise in bloody vengeance against the Jews’. It supplied the pretext for massive Nazi pogroms launched again Jews in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland – the orgy of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.  The tide of anti-Semitism under Nazi rule was given impetus: in the next 24 hours Nazi storm troopers along with members of the SS and Hitler Youth beat and murdered Jews, broke into and wrecked Jewish homes, brutalized Jewish women and children, destroyed 265 synagogues, looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, smashed Jewish cemeteries, hospitals and schools.  30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.” The police and emergency personnel not only stood and watched, but they formed cordons to prevent citizens whom were watching from joining in the brutality and getting injured. The Holocaust had begun.

On October 27, 2018, as a shooter murdered eleven Jews in the Tree of Life, police rushed to the scene, engaged the shooter, preventing him from leaving the scene to commit further murders, limiting his wake of destruction.  Four officers were injured; two have returned to active duty, and I hope and pray that the other two will soon be able to do so. Unlike Nazi Germany, the brave women and men ran towards the perpetrator, doing their utmost to serve and protect, their motto. That’s how living in the United States is different.

I remarked last year at a Kristallnacht commemoration that I had experienced my own personal Kristallmorgen, the Morning of Broken Glass.  The mantra that I had recited my entire life – Never Again – was forcefully ripped out of me, to be replaced with “Yet Again”. 

Yet despite the pain and loss and suffering, I will never forget our heroic first responders, as my faith did not matter to them. That’s a story that is important to tell and preserve.  They are and will always be my heroes, and I will forever be grateful. 

Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780