update deskAntisemitism

German chancellor vows ‘never again’ 85 years after Kristallnacht

Olaf Scholz spoke at a memorial ceremony at a synagogue in Berlin that was firebombed last month.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lights a candle in memory of the Israelis murdered by Hamas, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lights a candle in memory of the Israelis murdered by Hamas, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Marking the 85th anniversary of the Nazis’ Kristallnacht pogrom on Thursday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to protect Germany’s Jews amid a “shameful” upsurge in antisemitism.

“Essentially, this is about keeping the promise given again and again in the decades since 1945 …, the promise ‘Never again,'” said Scholz as he spoke at a memorial ceremony in a Berlin synagogue that was firebombed last month in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in the northwestern Negev.

“Every form of antisemitism poisons our society. We will not tolerate it,” he said.

Last month, Scholz met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, amid a string of visits to Israel by world leaders in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

“As I said last week in the Bundestag, in hard times, Germany has only one place, and it is alongside Israel,” Scholz said in his public remarks.

“It is very important to say this today here during these difficult times in Israel: Germany’s history and the responsibility it had for the Holocaust requires us to help maintain the security and existence of Israel,” he added.

Netanyahu said the attacks that began on Oct. 7 marked “the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust.”

“Hamas are the new Nazis, Hamas is ISIS, in some instances worse than Nazis,” charged the premier.

Also last month, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish community building in central Berlin as antisemitic violence surged across Germany in sympathy with the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Scholz condemned the attack while visiting Egypt, saying that “we will never accept when attacks are carried out against Jewish institutions.

“It outrages me personally what some of them are shouting and doing, and I am convinced that Germany’s citizens are of the same opinion as me,” said Scholz, referring to celebrations within Germany in support of the terrorist assault on the Negev.

Germany has banned pro-Hamas and most other pro-Palestinian demonstrations of the sort that have been seen across much of Europe and in parts of the U.S. and which often see expressions of antisemitism, verbal and otherwise.

Scholz said the protection of Jewish institutions would be increased.

Kristallnacht, the “The Night of Broken Glass,” was a massive assault on Jews that occurred on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, in Germany, Austria and the German-occupied region of Czechoslovakia.

For 48 hours, SA and SS paramilitary forces along with the Hitler Youth and German civilians destroyed synagogues and looted and vandalized Jewish businesses, homes and cemeteries.

Approximately 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes and schools were plundered, and at least 91 Jews were murdered. An additional 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023 assault was the worst one-day loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust. Approximately 1,400 people were killed in the cross-border invasion from the Gaza Strip in which Hamas terrorists rapedtortured and butchered men, women and children in nearby Israeli communities.

In the four weeks following the massacre, German police registered some 2,000 antisemitic incidents linked to the war against Hamas. In response, authorities have moved to boost security around Jewish institutions.

“Israel has the right to defend itself against the barbaric terror of Hamas,” Scholz reiterated on Thursday while restating his government’s commitment to ensure the release of the approximately 240 people taken to Gaza as hostages.

The captives include at least 18 German citizens.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates