“The night of broken glass”, refers to series of coordinated attacks, which took place in the night between the 9th to 10th November, 1938, in Nazi Germany and Austria. What first seemed to be a “spontaneous” attack on the Jewish population, discovered later to be an well organized pogrom that was led by Josef Goebbels himself and other high rank Nazi officers.

Historians find it hard to say the accurate number of the people who murdered that night. They estimate that few hundreds were killed; 30.000 men were arrested and sent to the concentration camps. In addition, Jewish homes, shops, schools, hospitals were brutally demolished, over 1000 synagogues burned, and over 7000 Jewish businesses destroyed.

Sadly, these horrible events were only the beginning of the enormous massacre that was about to happened.

Today, 76 years later, we still witness in Europe, ugly phenomena which unfortunately are part of our world. Racism in all its forms is alive and kicking! Xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, you name it!

Do you find any different between one types of racism to another? Don’t you think that discrimination has always the same effect? Does it matter if one carries inside him blind hate against Jews Muslims or women? Hate is always the same and doesn’t matter who the victims are.

But this is my personal opinion, and some people might disagree with me, as I witnessed tonight in Amsterdam. I went to the event that was organized by The Platform: “Stop Racism and Exclusion” with memorial speeches and Yiddish songs in the Jewish Resistance Monument at the Amsterdam City Hall. Apparently, some people in the crowd didn’t like the fact that there were also non Jewish people between the speakers, such as Fatima Elatik, who in the end didn’t show up. From what I understood they were putting a lot of pressure on these speakers, to cancel their speeches, and moreover, they made it very clear during the event, that this should be a “Jewish- only” evening. (while carrying Israeli flags and interfering the speeches)

Do you see the irony? Why can’t others who are not Jewish remember the horrible crimes against the Jewish people? Why these kinds of events should be exclusive for Jews only? Why we cannot talk about anti-Semitism as another expression of racism? Such as xenophobia and Islamophobia? I truly believe that if we Jewish, Muslim, Christian people and anybody else will gather together against racism and discrimination, we will be much stronger. Anti-Semitism is not just the “problem” of the Jewish people, same as that Islamophobia is not just the “problem” of Muslim people. These are all our problems and we should all fight against them, educate the next generations, and remember the dark days that were not so long ago here in Europe! Crimes that were executed in the name of racism! This can happen again. We all need to remember the past and learn from it, in order to create a better future!


Ronie Barel

verhuisde van Israël naar Nederland, activist, blogger

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