Kristallnacht took place November 9th-10th, 1938. With this chilling remembrance of Jew-hating history, we must begin to ask ourselves if what is currently taking place throughout Israel and the rest of the world is a haunting recurrence of the events that led to the deaths of 6 million Jews.
We know that the current war has acquired the title of being the biggest tragedy to befall the Jewish people since the Holocaust, but this doesn’t appear to be the only common tie between the two atrocities. Let’s look at some of these similarities to help put into perspective just how imperative it has become for each one of us to take a stand and to put a stop to the repetition of history that is happening today in order to confront and expose the individuals who are taking a harsh stance against the Jews.
What Happened During Kristallnacht?
Kristallnacht was one of the major turning points in World War 2 and one of the most shameful occurrences to have tainted the morality and compassions of nearly every non-Jewish person at that time. Its name bears the memory of the malefic events that occurred. Kristallnacht translates to “Night of Krystal” and is frequently called the “Night of Broken Glass,” recalling the shattered glass that covered the streets from the terrorized Jewish synagogues, homes, and businesses.
During this fateful time, Jews were murdered, raped, and arrested en masse with little action from the civilians who stood idly by and from the international community who had received word and acknowledged the atrocity that took place, yet chose not to intervene in the necessary ways. This was the first time the Nazi regime had arrested Jews en masse on no other basis than the fact that they were Jewish, and when extreme passivity occurred from the German citizens, it signaled to the heinous leaders that the civilians had been adequately prepared for even more radical atrocities aimed towards the Jewish residents of Europe.
How is This Similar To What is Happening Today?
We saw major outrage take place initially following the horrors of October 7th, but soon after this we began to see the outrage turn into overall passivity and then the passivity turn into aggression directed towards the victims themselves.
Though President Biden claims to support the Jewish people, his actions and advocacy for a Two-State Solution indicates otherwise. These two-faced intentions bear eerie similarities to those taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he acknowledged the atrocities of Kristallnacht, yet still refused to change the immigration policies.
Just as the horror and shock wore off after that fateful night in 1938 and passivity took its place, we see the same occurring in the public today, and one can’t help but see the similarities between the German civilians and their modern-day counterparts.
Unfortunately, Kristallnacht is Not Where the Similarities End
Though it is appealing to hide our eyes from seeing any historical repetition of this disgraceful time in our history, we must be fully aware of these recurrences in order to prevent this tragedy from happening again in our lifetime.
Antisemitic acts have spiked across the globe since October 7th, and Jews have been forced to relive the experiences of their elders by hiding their identity for fear of antisemitic attacks. In London, Jews are being encouraged by at least one school to hide their Jewish identity, and many have begun to avoid public transportation due to fear of attack. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel’s National Security Council put out a statement on X advising Israeli citizens and Jews to refrain from traveling unless absolutely necessary and to attempt to hide their Jewish identity due to the antisemitic actions that have taken place following the massacre. Many innocent people have no choice but to take these incomprehensible procedures in order to protect themselves against discrimination and harm.
As Jews are being told to conceal their Jewish identities and hide their kippahs underneath ball caps, the repeated path towards unwarranted death becomes even clearer. An excerpt recounting the hidden identity of the Jews from Yad Vashem states this:
“They lived in perpetual fear of all people and places, and made every effort to make themselves invisible and to fully embrace the customs of their surroundings. Mistakes were not an option. They memorized the Christian prayers, and were forced to renounce their religion and mother-tongue, often changing their hair color and trying to erase all signs of Jewish identity.”
The striking resemblance of this belittling time in history and what is happening today provides extreme reason for concern.
The similarities continue as anti-Jew graffiti and protests stir up deepening hatred across most major cities throughout, not only America, but nearly every country on the map. When you google the simple phrase, “anti-Jew graffiti,” you are immediately overwhelmed by the multitude of articles relaying reports of spiteful words, sayings, and pictures directed against the Jewish people in London, Paris, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Toronto, and countless other locations. The antisemitic depictions are not necessarily discrete either – a lavatory in a private London school bore the picture of a swastika and the atrocious phrase, “Kill Jews.” Similar phrases have also been found in New York City and various other cities around the world.
Graffiti in Paris and Berlin send chills down the spines of Jewish residents when they become fully aware of how significantly the hostility towards Jews has intensified when they see their own homes marked with the Star of David.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states that: “Decrees ordering identifying badges were rarely isolated acts. They were often part of a series of anti-Jewish measures designed to segregate Jews from the rest of the population and reinforce their inferior status.”
Upon seeing the abhorrent acts of marking Jewish homes with the Star of David, the intention of these individuals to demean and segregate the Jewish population becomes vividly clear.
According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia: “The Nazis effectively used propaganda to win the support of millions of Germans in a democracy and, later in a dictatorship, to facilitate persecution, war, and ultimately genocide. The stereotypes and images found in Nazi propaganda were not new, but were already familiar to their intended audience.”
This quote iterates exactly how the Nazis were able to cause millions of people to be implicit in their heinous crimes. This summary bears uncanny resemblance to how the masses are seemingly becoming implicit to the discriminatory crimes against the Jews today.
Average people have been told for many years that Israel is “occupying Gaza,” is a “terrorist state,” and is “oppressing the Palestinian people.” Through the persistent continuation of these lies, the masses have begun to believe these outlandish statements concerning the Jewish people and have now led to the facilitations or persecution, war, and deaths that have become the worst tragedy since the priorly mentioned genocide. As we see protests where individuals advocate for the eradication of the only Jewish State and all the Jews who live within it, we grievously recognize that the modern propaganda unleashed upon the masses appears to have been effective.
What Does All of This Mean?
As many are focused on the war between Israel and Hamas, a blind eye is being turned from the obscene number of atrocities being directed toward every Jew across the world. As every Jew in Israel either knows someone who has been killed by Hamas, kidnapped by Hamas, raped by Hamas, tortured by Hamas, wounded by Hamas, or is currently serving in the army to protect innocent Jewish lives from further traumas inflicted by Hamas, every Jew across the world has a different, familiar enemy – the people who hate the Jews for no other reason than the fact that they are Jewish and also the people who neglect their responsibility to stand up and defend the Jews.
While many of these people claim to be “Pro-Palestine,” the line between defending the Palestinians, of whom many are participating in murder of innocent Jews, and blatant Jew hatred dating back to the days of the Holocaust have become concerningly blurry. The appalling acts have, yet again, reared their ugly head and it appears that we, unfortunately, have reentered a time in history where we are faced with only two choices: are we going to fight for the lives of the Jewish people as few did in the days of Adolf Hitler, or are we going to continue in our ignorance and allow countless, innocent people to be murdered solely because they are a Jew. We must acknowledge the true intention hidden behind the facade of many of these “Palestinian supporters” is, regrettably, unresolved, deep-seated Jew-hatred.
Throughout the last month, we have seen haunting repetitions leading to the Holocaust and it provokes a very specific and important question: What will stir up action in the non-Jewish citizens across the world? Jews being forced to wear identifying badges? The reinstatement of Jewish Ghettos? The building of concentration camps and gas chambers? Or will the international community choose to allow and even encourage the deaths of millions of innocent Jews? Each and every person living in this moment in history has the responsibility to take action and change our historic narrative of passivity before we lose an additional 6 million Jewish lives.