Statement by the President on the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht
I join millions of people in the United States and around the world in marking the 75th anniversary of the tragedy of Kristallnacht – “the Night of Broken Glass.” On November 9 and 10, 1938, Nazi paramilitaries marched under the cover of darkness throughout the towns and villages of Germany and Austria smashing Jewish storefronts, arresting Jewish men en masse, ransacking Jewish homes, burning books and littering the streets with the parchment of sacred Judaic texts. Throughout the two-day wave of violence, hundreds of synagogues and thousands of businesses owned by Jews were destroyed or damaged. At least 91 Jews were killed, while another 30,000 were sent to concentration camps.
Kristallnacht foreshadowed the systematic slaughter of six million Jews and millions of other innocent victims. Seventy-five years later, Kristallnacht now signifies the tragic consequences of silence in the face of unmitigated hatred.
As we mark this anniversary, let us act in keeping with the lessons of that dark night by speaking out against anti-Semitism and intolerance, standing up to indifference, and re-committing ourselves to combatting prejudice and persecution wherever it exists. In so doing, we honor the memories of those killed and reaffirm that timeless call: “Never Again.”