No, There Won’t Be Another Krystallnacht, Not In Israel
By Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum
This message was sent by Rabbi Birnbaum to the Shearim mailing list. Shearim is the award-winning Russian outreach program Rabbi Birnbaum started in Netanya a quarter century ago. To learn more about Shearim, check the ESRA Magazine article, "She’arim Netanya Celebrates," which may be found at http://esra-magazine.com/blog/post/shearim-netanya. If you wish to make a contribution to Shearim, use the contact information at the end of that article.
Today is November 9, the anniversary of the night in 1938 when there were “spontaneous” outbreaks throughout Germany.
The violence was aimed against 300 Synagogues, all Jewish homes and property, and Jewish persons of whom 70,000 were sent to concentration camps and 36 killed. So much glass was broken in the process of fury, that the night was given an appropriate name, “Krystallnacht” (the Night of the Broken Glass). The violence was allegedly justified because of the murder of the third secretary of the German Embassy Ernst Von Rath in Paris by a Jewish lad Hershel Grynspan.
Proper historic perspective does not allow us to accept the excuse of Von Rath’s death as the reason for this first manifestation of unbridled violence against the Jews by the Nazis. We recall that in February 1936 a Jewish youth killed the Nazi Gauleiter of Switzerland, Willhelm Gustloff, without repercussions at the time. We are also cognizant of the fact that there were many anti- Jewish acts in Nazi Germany prior to Krystallnacht, such as the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, the economic boycotts of 1933 the book-burnings of the same year, and more. Therefore the reason for having reached this new stage of unprecedented physical violence needs to be traced to newly developed circumstances by November 1938.
Indeed, in July 1938 – in the wake of Austria’s Anschluss by Nazi Germany and the consequent utter public humiliation of the Jews of Vienna – 32 nations met in Evian, France, for the specific purpose of alleviating the plight of the Jews. Nine days they deliberated on the fate of the Jews. The Nazis voiced their readiness to permit the emigration of Jews at $200 per head. Only the Dominican Republic showed readiness to help. The others wiggled out of any obligation. Canada wanted only agricultural workers.
The Swiss delegate declared that “Switzerland has as little use for these Jews as has Germany”. The United States would not go beyond its annual German immigration quota of 25,900, with each immigrant requiring a police permit of good behavior, obviously unavailable to Jews. And so on. It became clear – as a result of this fatal conference intended to help the Jews – that the Jews are unwanted the world over.
Evian turned out to be a triumph to Germany. The world chose to live complacently and not pay attention to manifestations of Inhumanity. Hitler received a green light to move forward relentlessly toward a “Judenrein” Nazi empire, and eventually a “Judenrein” world. The unwillingness of the nations to rise in protest, or go beyond the clicking of tongues paved the road for the murder of Six Million Jews. Actually, instead of lifting a hand to help the helpless Jews, the civilized nations of the world In their silent acquiescence joined hands with Hitler in accomplishing his satanic goal.
Today we see a virtual repeat of the civilized world’s behavior in 1938. Israel is the one-and-only Jewish State. It is accused and condemned by the United Nations, by the European States and the other cultured and not-so-cultured nations for every step it takes to defend itself from the bestial attacks of adversaries whose main purpose is to erase it from the face of the globe. We are not asking for another Evian. We saw what happened to us when we lived among the nations and allowed our fate to be deliberated and determined by them. No, thank you. We do not want a repeat of the recent past still within human memory.
We blame not so much the Palestinians, and not so much the Arabs for their cruel distortion of history, as we blame first and most of all the cultured and civilized nations for not making the slightest effort to distinguish gross lies from evident truths, and historic justice from fanatic madness. One wonders which is more incredible – the degeneration of the mad “Al Akza defenders” or the depraved disinterest of the civilized and cultured world?
No, there won’t be another Krystallnacht, not in Israel. Even though we seem to stand today, as we did in 1938, against a substantial part of a barbaric civilized world, even though we are repeatedly seared and wounded, we are invincible. We may be exposed to storms and floods, but the sun of Israel shall not set anymore.