Sunday, November 9, 2008


In case you didn't get a chance to read up on Kristallnacht, of which this year marks the 70th anniversary, I found the Yad Vashem site to have some pretty compelling and fascinating reads.
On November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a series of riots against the Jews in Germany and Austria. In the space of a few hours, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed. For the first time, tens of thousands of Jews were sent to concentration camps simply because they were Jewish. This event came to be called Kristallnacht ("Night of the Broken Glass") for the shattered store windowpanes that carpeted German streets.
If anything, I am reminded of how we are not all that far away from the events of the Shoah. It is as if it were yesterday. Once it hits 100 years, 150 years, I have to wonder whether it will feel so distant or still close. The world isn't so young when we think about these things. It allows us to remember that we're not so far away from the chaos as we thought.