Kristallnacht: Germany 1938, UK 2008

In July 1939, my wife’s family fled from Berlin. 8 months previously, their Synagogue had been destroyed during Kristallnacht. 24 hours of orchestrated pogroms saw thousands of Jewish prayer houses burnt, books from Jewish academics and authors left in cinders, and tens of thousands deported to camps.

In the evening of November 9th 1938, Mr David Weiler returned from his tour of destruction and took out his Bible. The weekly reading referred to Abraham, receiving an instruction to leave the land of his birth and go to the land of Israel. The father of the Jewish nation packed his bags, and Mr Weiler prepared to do the same.

Flash forward 70 years. One of Mr Weiler’s great grandchildren, my son, also called David, yesterday returned from a week-long tour of the concentration camps in Poland. He is 17.5 years old and went with his school.

The stories he has come back with are not so easy to digest. At Maidjenek, he photographed a memorial containing 7 tons of embers of dead souls. At Treblinka, they toured a camp built for the singular purpose of mass, efficient slaughter. In Warsaw, they stood at the spot where Jews were violently rounded up and then sent on a free trip to hell.

They met good Poles. They were also insulted by elderly pensioner. Even a 10 year old threw a piece of rotten fruit at them.

Back in Israel, the group went straight from the airport to the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. They held morning prayers, sang the national anthem, danced to celebrate their freedom, and went home with their thoughts.  2 miles to the north, on the Mount of Olives, lies the tomb of my great grandfather. He had come to Palestine to retire, passing away in 1943, as the Warsaw ghetto was being raised.

It is 70 years since Kristallnacht. Congo, Rwanda, Cambodia and even Poland in 1968 show how we have yet to learn the true lessons of the Holocaust.

In parallel, in the comfort of London’s sheltered academia, we can look out towards the student’s union at Goldsmith’s College. This week, they are hosting an event to compare the horrors of the Holocaust to the current state of Gaza. The union will call for a boycott of Israeli organisations, just as the Nazi Party organised on Kristallnacht. The poverty of Palestinians will be compared to those who were systematically sought out, rounded up, and gassed because of their religion. Hamas literature today refers to such events, positively.

The union’s language of hate and mockery will find a haven behind a wall of political correctness, the wall Nazis built to defend their Aryan race.

For those, who still do not know the difference between Warsaw in the early 1940s and Gaza today, I publish here a simplified table.


Warsaw Ghetto

Gaza Strip

How did they get there?

Forcibly round up  and sent there

Lived there for generations

Arrived there after wars with Israel

Went there to escape from Egypt

Allowed out?

Under no circumstances – under threat of death

Israel allows 10s of thousands every day to work in Israel.

Israel allows in medical cases.

Egypt maintains a blockade.

Supplies allowed in?


Israel sends in continuous supplies, 5 days a week.

Mass smuggling campaign.

Egypt has closed its border.

Has other housing been provided?


Israel vacated the Gaza Strip in 2005. Not one person has been relocated from the camps since then.

Do people die of hunger?

Hundreds – daily


Is there an end in sight?

Yes – liquidation and slaughter

When Hamas agrees to recognize Israel, then peace can come quickly.


Pathetic  – and directed against troops

Daily rocket fire directed randomly against civilian targets in Israel.

Human rights

The world ignored the slaughter of 100s of thousands.

Hamas rejects freedom of press, persecutes Christians, and subjects women to second class status


 Can you spot the similarity?


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5 Comments on “Kristallnacht: Germany 1938, UK 2008”

  1. Michael Horesh Says:

    Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, commented on the 70th anniversary of Krystallnacht (This is a direct quote from his office – MH)

    “The awful events of Krystallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, in 1938 should never be forgotten.

    At least 91 Jews were murdered and up to 30,000 were arrested, most of whom were sent to concentration camps. Synagogues were burnt down, businesses, shops and houses were ransacked, and cemeteries were desecrated throughout Germany, Austria and the occupied Sudetenland.

    It is our duty as citizens of this world to keep up our guard against antisemitism and all forms of racism infiltrating our societies, and do our upmost ensure that similar horrors do not occur in the future.”

  2. Michael Horesh Says:

    The largest synagogue in Germany has reopened after restoration to its condition before Kristallnacht, a night of anti-Jewish violence in 1938.

    One of the guests at the reopening was Rabbi Leo Trepp, who preached there in the 1930s, The Jerusalem Post reported. The rabbi, now 94, was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

    The synagogue was heavily damaged on Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass but was not burned, apparently because a fire would have spread to nearby buildings. The congregation continued to hold services there until 1940.

  3. Michael Horesh Says:

    Since writing this piece, it as been picked and used to explain the problems with the comparison to student leaders at Goldsmiths’ College (part of the University of London) after they ran an event involving Holocaust relativism and antisemitic lableing of Israel as Nazis. The letter set by someone who witnessed the events can be seen at Zionism On The Web:

  4. pinkshlamazel Says:

    “The will to not believe is stronger than the truth” It does not matter what the facts are. The deligitimization of Jews through history (european anti-semitism) and dhimmitude (Islamic), is a constant factor. If one keeps these thoughts in mind while reading the Koran, there becomes no mystery as to why literal Islamism is an uncompromising threat to word peace and prosperity. The anti-semites in Europe who ally with the Islamists, don’t get that if the Caliphate is ever restored, they will be next (queers, whores and sodomites)”do not befriend the infidel…cut off his head)that is you pal. Most Muslims I believe do not share the extreme views, but have received a religious indoctrination that does not allow questioning, and even if doubts are expressed, are done only at risk to their lives. The battle is between the muslims who choose to live in the modern world and those who define the religion in the “verse of the sword” terms, to continue the conquest of lands to impose Islam and to reclaim any land that has once been muslim domminant. This is an intellectual battle for the reformation against barbaric tribal culture. Only the muslims can fix their problem and unfortunatley, 1/2 the Koran perpetuates it. As westerners we have every duty to support the muslim reformers, defend against sharia, habibs, jihad, taquia, and virulent hatred. Remember Hitler and Stalin were allies once. If a leftish liberalist thinks that Hamas is the cause for human rights, then the accomplishments of the enlightenment and their armchair liberal PC ideology is a fluff ball of thought. The enemy has defined itself, and you are in their sights. Liberal jews, think of Daniel Pearl, your head is next. Israel may be brutal, but given the hatred, propaganda and brutality in the muslim world, it is surprisingly restrained in its response. EVen the allies in WW2 were multitudes of brutaliy greater in elliminating the Nazis. Maybe 80% of germans are accepting of this liberation, but 10% still believe a strong fuhrer would be their best option. Not all history is parallel, but one thing is consistent. Read the Koran, then anything a Muslim leader says can be understood in the context of them all believing they are little Moes.

  5. michael Says:

    I am not sure that I agree with all the sentiments here nor am I convinced about the statements regarding the Koran
    The Holocaust teaches us that hatred is evil. Further, there are specific reasons why peoples hates Jews, and those factors are still prevalent today.
    Personally, I look for societies that rise above such evils, while not being afraid to defend itself from intellectual attack at the same time.

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