Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sad Day

Nov. 9, 1938, Nazis and others attacked Jewish synagogues and businesses in Germany, an event known as Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass. Commemorations of the event attempt to put it in historical perspective, in the trajectory from November 9, 1918, when the defeated German Kaiser abdicated through November 9, 1923, when Hitler was arrested after his first attempt to seize power, and forward to November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and which, according to the New York Times, now has much more attention from German memorialists.

The Times on the commemoration of 1938 and 1989:
If there is one way that Nov. 9 unites these two narratives, it is in the fear that time is slowly diminishing the memories of both events. At the gathering hosted by the mayor to commemorate the wall’s coming down, several people who lived in Berlin when it was divided said they were worried that the next generation would forget what they lived through.

Twentieth century German history dominates all Jewish history before and afterwards, in many narratives. For many people, it's difficult to see previous or subsequent Jewish events without comparison or other consciousness of the Holocaust -- which in some sense started on Kristallnacht.

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