As Germany marks the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht anti-Semitic riots, Chancellor Angela Merkel said all Germans must act against racism.
At a ceremony at Berlin’s largest synagogue, she said Germans “cannot be silent” in the face of anti-Semitism.
Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, is often regarded as the starting point of the Holocaust.
Nazis ransacked Jewish homes and businesses and burned synagogues as police and firefighters looked on.
More than 90 Jewish people were murdered and about 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps on 9 and 10 November 1938.
Millions were killed by the Nazi regime, including about six million Jewish people.
“Indifference is the first step towards endangering essential values,” Mrs Merkel said at the commemoration service with the Central Council of Jews at the Rykestrasse synagogue in Berlin.
“Xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism must never be given an opportunity in Europe again.
The Rykestrasse synagogue was damaged in the Kristallnacht rampage but has been recently restored.
At least 90 Jewish people were killed on Kristallnacht
The anniversary comes at a time of concern that far right sentiments are on the rise in Germany.
“There was no storm of protest against the Nazis, but silence, shrugged shoulders and people looking away – from individual citizens to large parts of the church,” Mrs Merkel said.
“We cannot be silent, we cannot be indifferent when Jewish cemeteries are desecrated and rabbis are insulted on the street.”
On Sunday evening, a concert entitled “Tu Was”, or “Do Something”, was held at Berlin’s Tempelhof airport.
Its organiser, British violinist Daniel Hope, said he was inspired by reading a book about the events in 1938 and realising there was nothing to mark the day other than the official ceremony.
“It’s difficult to know how to commemorate a day of tragedy,” he said.
“It is a wonderful chance for everybody to think about things. Not doing something is the worst thing anyone can do”.
On Saturday, police estimated that about 600 people marched in Fulda in central Germany to protest against a march by members of the right wing National Democratic Party (NPD).
Demonstrators said Fulda was a Nazi-free zone
Demonstrators held up signs saying that Fulda was “a Nazi-free zone” and waved Israeli flags.
Police said the demonstrations were peaceful and the two groups were kept apart.
The secretary general of the Central Council of German Jews, Stephan Kramer, has said there should be better education for Germany children about the events of the Nazi era.
Mr Kramer told a German newspaper that young people should “more than ever at the moment be warned against the dangers of the future, of a new anti-Semitism and of the far-right”.
Marchers in the Streets, Boycotts of Businesses, A Travel Ban to Utah, and a Review of Tax Exempt Status of the LDS Church, This isn’t going to end until we get our rights back. All my West coast reads have been reporting one march after another. The churches have overstepped themselves in a really big way. I think the Catholic Church should loose their tax exempt status as well.
From the L.A. Times report on the rally I didn’t make it to last night (after getting home from the Integrity Board Meeting in Nevada):
Police estimated that 12,500 boisterous marchers converged about 6 p.m.
at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of
the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a
historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay
Police guided the demonstrators through the
streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No
arrests were reported.
Other demonstrations, including one that
attracted up to 10,000 people in San Diego, popped up across the state.
At each rally, participants vented frustration and anger over the
ballot item that amends the state Constitution to declare that “only
marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized” in
Steve Ramos, 46, of Los Angeles carried a banner
through the streets of Silver Lake with the spray-painted words “Teach
tolerance, not hate.”
Supporters of the ballot proposition, he
said, mixed “religion with politics” and missed the main point.
“Everyone should have equal rights.”
Others carried candles and
posters of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous quotations.
Henry Thach, a 26-year-old information technology worker from West
Covina, held a placard that read, “I have a dream too.”
community, he said, has clearly failed to persuade blacks, who voted
heavily in favor of Proposition 8, that theirs is also a struggle for
The Silver Lake rally began with fiery speeches from the bed of a pickup.
the speakers was Robin Tyler, half of the lesbian couple who were
denied a marriage license in 2004 and challenged that rejection all the
way to the California Supreme Court.
The pair married after the court cleared the way for gay weddings, but the legal status of such marriages is now uncertain.
expressed frustration over the leadership of the unsuccessful campaign
to defeat the ballot measure and lashed out at those who supported it.
No on 8 people didn’t want us to use the word ‘bigots.’ But that’s what
they are, bigots, bigots, bigots,” Tyler said, bringing a round of
cheers from the growing crowd. “We will never be made invisible again.
Never again will we let them define who we are.”
organizers, the L.A. Coalition for Equal Marriage Rights and the Answer
Coalition, did not apply for a permit, police said. The protest closed
Sunset between Fountain and Sanborn avenues for about two hours as
marchers moved west on Santa Monica, north on Vermont Avenue, then east
on Hollywood Boulevard back to Silver Lake. Later a smaller group
headed toward Hollywood.
Steering the crowds, several hundred
officers were on scene, riding horses, motorcycles and bicycles. Others
on foot were sprinkled through the crowd. Mario Mariscal, 20, and his
mother, Delia Perez, a 45-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, stood on the
Sunset Boulevard sidewalk. Mariscal came out to his mother as gay when
he was 16. She held a sign saying, “Give my son his rights.”
feels the No on 8 campaign spent little energy and money in the Latino
community, which tilted for the ballot item. He said he was “very
fearful for my future. When will they start treating me like an equal
A handful of counter-protesters were also on the
scene, separated from the marching crowds by police on horseback. One
man held up a large sign: “God does not love you just the way you are.”