While Kristallnacht, signaling the beginning of the Holocaust, took place 85 years ago, the recent massacre of over 1,400 Israelis makes this horrific event more relevant than ever. Unlike the Jews who were facing genocide in World War Two, Israel is blessed with an ally; zionist Christians. On November 9, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Israel365 is running a program to train people who love Israel on how to battle for the survival of the Jewish nation in these difficult times.
The Hamas massacre of over 1,400 Israelis on October 7 was the worst tragedy to befall the Jewish people since the Holocaust ended in 1945. Even more disturbing than the actual event, though, was the reaction of many thousands of people in America and Europe who took to the streets in rallies supporting Hamas. To many the connection to the Holocaust seemed even stronger as we witnessed a growing wave of hatred for Jews and Israel that closely resembled the Nazi rallies of pre-war Germany. In this context, the October 7 massacre became the Kristallnacht of our era.
Kristallnacht (the night of crystal) was a massive series of pogroms that took place on the night of November 9, 1938. The name Kristallnacht (literally ‘Crystal Night’) comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were smashed.
Carried out by the Nazi Party’s paramilitary forces, the government looked on without intervening, and firefighters watched as Jewish homes and businesses burned. Rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps, and at least 90 Jews were murdered.
While many Christians remained silent as the Nazis murdered six million Jews, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor, opposed the Nazis and their “Final solution” as a religious imperative. Bonhoeffer was persecuted for his vocal opposition to the Nazis and was hung in April 1945, two months before Germany surrendered and one month before the end of the Holocaust.
The connection between Kristallnacht and Hamas massacring Israelis is implicit in the history of Palestinian nationalism. Haj al Amin Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem before World War II and the founder of Palestinian nationalism, allied with the Nazis with the intention of bringing the Holocaust to the Middle East and many Palestinians volunteered to fight in the German army. Al-Husseini visited Hitler in Germany during the war and may have visited Auschwitz at the height of its operation, requesting that Hitler complete the genocide of the Jews in order to prevent them from moving to Israel. He also advocated for the Germans to establish death camps in Palestine.
It is also well-documented that Husseini requested and received from Hitler a promise not to permit Jews fleeing Europe to arrive in Palestine, a plan that was being initiated by the English and American governments. This undoubtedly led to many Jews being unable to flee and dying in Nazi death camps.
Research has shown that the Holocaust almost spread to the Holy Land. In 2006, historians at the University of Stuttgart concluded from their studies of Nazi archives that a unit of SS troops stationed in Athens was tasked with following invading frontline troops in Palestine and then rounding up and murdering about 500,000 European Jews who had taken refuge there as a Middle Eastern aspect of the Final Solution.
This legacy of Jew-hatred was handed down, finding its way into the origins of the Palestinian Authority. Al-Husseini met a young Yasser Arafat, the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the first president of the Palestinian Authority in Egypt in 1946. It was at that point that Arafat became his protege, taking over the cause and eventually the leadership of Palestinian nationalism.
Once again Jews are faced with a genocidal movement. Christians today are faced with the decision: will they remain silent as so many did after Kristallnacht or will they stand with the Jews out of Christian belief like Dietrich Bonhoeffer?
Israel365 calls upon all churches to mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht and to stand together with Israel in her hour of need.
Next week, host an event at your church to memorialize the victims of Kristallnacht and October 7th. Tell your community with pride: we stand with Israel!
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