The US Holocaust Museum explains what happened:
On November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms against Germany’s Jews. In the space of a few hours, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) for the shattered store windowpanes that carpeted German streets.
The pretext for this violence was the November 7 assassination of a German diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, by Herschel Grynszpan, a Jewish teenager whose parents, along with 17,000 other Polish Jews, had been recently expelled from the Reich. Though portrayed as spontaneous outbursts of popular outrage, these pogroms were calculated acts of retaliation carried out by the SA, SS, and local Nazi party organizations.
Stormtroopers killed at least 91 Jews and injured many others. For the first time, Jews were arrested on a massive scale Click to enlarge and transported to Nazi concentration camps. About 30,000 Jews were sent to Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen, where hundreds died within weeks of arrival. Release came only after the prisoners arranged to emigrate and agreed to transfer their property to “Aryans.”
Kristallnacht culminated the escalating violence against Jews that began during the incorporation of Austria into the Reich in March 1938. It also signaled the fateful transfer of responsibility for “solving” the “Jewish Question” to the SS.
Lorenz C. Schmuhl Papers, USHMM Archives
The previous words are from the web site of the US Museum of the Holocaust.
Now George takes up the horror.
No need to ask “What caused Kristallnacht?” Two thousand years of Christian antisemitism caused it.
And yet, “antisemitism” is an inadequate word for organized terror. Take St. Augustine for example. (Yes, take him. I don’t want him.) Good old Augustine was a 5th century intellectual hippy who dumped the woman he had lived with for fifteen years as well as his son, Adeodatus. Shortly after that he got religion. Hey, that’s forgivable, you say? Sure. But wait. He preached the gospel like this: ” The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus.” Augustine told people studying to become Christians, “The Jews killed Jesus.” He didn’t want all the Jews killed in any one generation so there could always be some available to torture and kill. He advocated genocide against all heretics and pagans. (Sounds like the Crusades and the Inquisition. Dawkins has so much evidence for the evils that Christians have unleashed on the world.) Antisemitism? Let’s call it Christo-fascism.
All churches dedicated to this vampire, Augustine, should have a large sign outside proving their rejection of his teaching. Any church that has a statue of him should put a dunce cap on his head every November 9th.
Of course he was not alone. The sources below quote the hateful words of many “saints” we celebrate on All Saints’ Day. How few of the great saints even lifted a finger to help Jewish victims who suffered 20 centuries of Christian rape and murder.
Some did risk their lives to help — although not many Christian leaders are known to have risked anything. Politics plays it safe. Here’s a list of those honored by the Anti-Defamation League for rescuing Jews during the holocaust:
Martha and Waitstill Sharp, Leitz II, Mefail and Njazi Bicaku, Hiram Bingham IV, Sir Nicholas Winton, Konstantin Koslovsky, Jan and Miep Gies, Aristides De Sousa Mendes, Jan Karski, Selahattin Ulkumen, Chiune Sugihara, the French town of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, Emilie and Oskar Schindler, The Partisans of Riccione, Italy and Johanna Vos. What beautiful people. Very rare on this earth.
Kristallnacht? Just business as usual. As usual? Well no, the same business but more organized than usual.
James Alison’s latest book, “Undergoing God,” compares two kinds of worship: the Christian mass and a Nazi Nuremberg rally. “The liturgical organizers of the Nuremberg rallies knew exactly what they were doing, and did it remarkably well. You bring people together and you unite them in worship. You provide regular, rhythmic music, and marching. You enable them to see lots of people in uniform, people who have already lost a certain individuality and become symbols. You inflame them with tales of past woe and reminders of past confusion, when they were caused to suffer by some shame being imposed upon them. Then, after the build up, the Fuhrer appears. With a few deft words he points to the huge gathering which is a sign of a new unity [against] enemies from afar and, more important, by readily identifiable enemies who are much closer at hand. [When they get home] they will look at the Jew from across the road in a different light. They will [turn] a blind eye to his disappearance, agreeing that old Mr. Silverstein the cobbler is indeed a threat to society.” (Page 35-36)
The Nuremberg rally convinced the Germans that they were victimized by history and by the”other” in their midst, the Jews. Like helpless “worms” the Germans were slowly turned into willing supporters of genocide.
Fortunately there are some Christians who understand how we have victimized so many dear people throughout history. James Alison has a refreshing understanding of the mass, the meal of Jesus broken body and bloodlike wine. As a victim of military, political and religious torture, Jesus identifies himself with all victims. And after Life raised Jesus from death back to life, he comes to us in the mass. He comes to us who know that WE are the victimizers. Unlike Nuremberg the evil we remember was not done TO us. It was done BY us. And this beautiful loving Jesus, a victim among all our victims, comes to say, “Peace. Don’t be afraid. I forgive you. I love you. Stop victimizing. Spread this love.”
In the late 1960’s I moved to Kansas City. The first day we arrived I met my neighbor across the street. We talked for maybe 5 minutes. He was the German consul in Kansas City. He was a businessman who represented his country without pay. I probably had my priest uniform on — a black suit with a white collar. In the course of this brief meeting my new neighbor said, “Hitler didn’t finish the job.” I did not know how to reply at all. I didn’t have the decency to tell him that he was full of hatred and evil. When he dropped dead of a heart attack that week I thought the earth was a better place. It was sad for his wife and little children. But still a better place.
In the dining car on the Ghan, a beautiful train in Australia, I sat across from another passenger going from Sydney to Alice Springs. Australia was then having real problems with its currency. Its value against the dollar dropped every day. I was in ordinary clothes this time, having been a busker making music for tips at the Olympics in Sydney. I asked the stranger across the table what was causing the currency problem for Australia. “Everybody knows that,” he said. “It’s the Jews.” I wish I could report that I responded accurately to those words. As I recollect, I was stunned and said nothing.
God help us