Saturday, 9 November 2013

Kristallnacht bei KaDeWe

Seventy-five years ago on this night, the 9-10th of November, widespread pogroms against Jews in Nazi Germany and parts of Austria took place. It came to be known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, from the shards of broken glass littering the streets the next morning after Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues had their windows smashed in.

During these SA and SS-staged anti-Jewish riots, 91 Jews were killed, and around 26,000 taken from their homes and incarcerated in concentration camps. 267 synagogues were destroyed (almost all that Germany had), and around 7,500 Jewish-owned shops were smashed and looted.

The Kristallnacht pogroms presaged attempts to remove Jews from German life completely, and what is shameful to the rest of the world is that they were widely reported at the time by foreign journalists who were often themselves eye-witnesses to the vandalism and anti-Semitic brutality.

To mark the anniversary and encourage people to reflect on what occurred, a number of businesses in Berlin have made their shop windows appear as if they have had a brick thrown through them.

Today we were out and about around Wittenberg Platz, and noticed many of the stores along Tauentzienstraße were participating in the commemoration. In particular, the giant department store KaDeWe had many of its store windows 'smashed'.

Significantly, Wittenbergplatz U-Bahn already has a memorial plaque listing the Nazi concentration camps,  "Orte des Schreckens, die wir nie vergessen dürfen" - Places of Fear that we should never forget.

Wittenberg Platz U-Bahn

p.s. When we got back to our village of Basdorf, we noted that our local Supermarkt, Rewe, had their windows done up as well. So it is just not Berlin stores that are participating.

More info here: die Shaufenster Aktion (though you may have to keep clicking on the Union Jack to get the English version - poor web design!)

1 comment:

  1. I am so pleased that Germany can address their past horrors and remember them that they won't happen again. I hope that my own homeland can remember as well - and stop what is currently going on with the NSA and other agencies... sooner rather than later.
    Thanks for reminding us, Andie!


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