By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BERLIN, GERMANY (BosNewsLife)– Germans, including church leaders, have marked the 75th anniversary of deadly attacks against Jewish properties, known as the Kristallnacht, and the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The commemorations, which were also observed in other European cities, come at a time of concern about a new wave of antisemitism in Europe.
More than two decades after their nation was re-united, Germans remembered the Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, during which the Nazis staged a wave of attacks on Jews in Germany and Austria.
On November 9 of 1938 more than 1,000 synagogues as well as thousands of Jewish businesses, homes and medical practises were looted and destroyed.
As many as 1,000 people were reportedly killed and more than 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps in the following days.
Officials of Catholic and Protestant churches participated in a silent march in Berlin to mark the Kristallnacht’s 75th anniversary.
“For me it is important to show in public that we haven’t forgotten what happened here in Berlin 75 years ago,” said Protestant Bishop Markus Dröge. “It’s an appeal for human rights and dignity for anyone regardless of their culture or religion.”
Nearby shopfronts displayed images of shattered glass. German chancellor Angela Merkel said the Kristallnacht “was an event that humiliated Jews in an unbelievable way” and marked the eventual start of the Holocaust.
The commemoration was overshadowed by a poll showing three out of four Jews in the European Union still experience antisemitism.
BERLIN WALL REMEMBERED
Germans also recalled the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Germany for decades.
There is discussion whether a prayer meeting made the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, inevitable.
A month earlier, thousands of Christians ignored death threats and armed police for a gathering at St. Nicholas Church in the east German city of Leipzig to pray for peace.
They then joined some 70,000 people for a protest march against the country’s communist regime, the launch of what proved to be an unstoppable movement for freedom.