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The Remnants of Kristallnacht

The pogrom of homes, synagogues and Jewish Businesses occurred 80 years ago this month. Called Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, this event was one of the most prominent in the uptick in anti-Semitic incidents which eventually led to the Holocaust during WWII. How far has the world come since?

From November 9th to November 10th, 1939, a series of attacks of synagogues, Jewish homes and businesses occurred all around Germany. Over 100 were killed and an additional 30,000 forcibly separated from their families, arrested and sent to concentration camps. Although there was a palpable repression of population freedom of the Jews in Germany since the rise of the Nazi Party in 1889, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse as the Nazi Party’s “Final Solution” was implemented.

What Was the Final Solution?

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party espoused an extreme form of German nationalism and anti-Semitism. When the party passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, it was declared that only Aryans could be full German citizens, even going to far as making it illegal for Aryans and Jews to be married or engage in extramarital intercourse.

The Final Solution was the answer to the “Jewish Question,” the grand Nazi scheme for eliminating the Jewish population of Europe. The systematic and deliberate genocide of Jewish populations started across German-occupied Europe and included methods of killing such as mobile killing units, concentration and forced labor camps, and extermination camps with the purpose of systematically implementing the final solution. By the end of the war, nearly 6 million Jews were killed as part of Hitler’s plan.

Repercussions of World War II

The world became divided, to say the least, as a consequence of the Second World War. After a long and expensive war which exhausted much of the world’s manpower and technology, the world fell into a period of intense economic reconstruction. Today, the reverberations of WWII can still be experienced across borders and in various group diasporas across the world.

Kristallnacht, 80 Years On

The genocide of millions in World War II should have taught the planet to be more tolerant of all people. In addition to the dangers of extreme nationalism, weaponry and humanity should have been at the top of the list of lessons taken away from the war. Unfortunately, the dangerous rise of far-right world leaders, seeming acceptance of nationalist groups in global discourse and even anti-Semitic attacks show us that maybe we have not come as far as we should have hoped.


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