Kristallnacht Lessons


November 12, 2013 - New York – The AJC weekly radio messages are broadcast on the CBS radio network, before The Osgood File. All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at www.ajc.org/radiocommentary.

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The full text of this week's commentary follows:

Earlier this week, we marked a poignant anniversary.

It was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Over two days in 1938, the Nazis went on a rampage.

They destroyed hundreds of synagogues in Germany and Austria, sent tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps, and murdered many.

And this was before the war had actually started!

By war’s end in 1945, the toll, of course, had gone much, much higher.

Such an anniversary offers us the chance to pause and reflect.

Had the world, including the U.S., spoken out more forcefully against the Nazi regime then, might things have turned out differently?

Had appeasement with Hitler not become Western policy, would the Nazis have thought twice?

And had Israel existed in 1938, might more Jews have been saved?

For AJC’s part, we remember. And we draw the lessons, the first of which is always to be vigilant and speak up.

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This is David Harris of AJC.