Tuesday, 11 September 2007

An Earlier 9/11 — Broken Glass & Ashes

(In Australia 9/11 is November 9th).

Remembering 'Kristallnacht' - 9/11/38

An eyewitness account ( www.thelooniverse.com/ books/ kastner.html). There you can see Erich Kästner's description of "Crystal Night, 1938", as well as his attendance at the 1933 burning of his, and 23 other authors' books. It was also mentioned in a post in my main blog in March 2006 (mez-at-the.blogspot.com/ 2006/ 03/ erich-kastner-writer-part-of-his-story.html)

In Summary
(In 1938, incensed by hearing of his family in Germany being forced into "relocation camps" in the November snow under Nazi laws, an adolescent Jew in Paris shot and killed a German diplomat.

Goebbels used this for propaganda about conspiracies against Germany, inciting Germans to "rise in bloody vengeance", culminating on the long winter night of November 9th in organised widespread violence. Non-Jews who protested were beaten. Police and firemen watched people brutalized, buildings smashed, looted and burnt. Morning footpaths were impassable under an icy glittering crust of broken glass and ashes.

Prominent Germans who protested were arrested. Ordinary Germans who protested were beaten up. Lack of public protest encouraged the Nazi government to pass even more repressive laws in the next few months.

Can we hope that we've learnt from last century's several examples of disasters wrought by stirring up the darker side we all have - for power, for gain, for dogmatic religion or ideology?

Note the winding-tighter spiral of assassination, having been sparked by rage at the laws & treatment following the Reichstag fire, being used as pretext for Kristallnacht, which sparked the next round of ill-treatment & laws giving more power to The Party, und so weiter. That's why I detest the violent political language particularly around in recent right-wing US commentary, but not exclusive to them.

Two sites of many others about it: www.remember.org/fact.fin.kristal.html and www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/kristallnacht.html

I particularly like the knife-twist, so typical of current 'economic fundamentalists' of indemnifying the Jewish community to pay for the damages, for example by confiscating their insurance payouts. Relatives were also billed for execution expenses in Nazi Germany (see below). It reminds me of recent British stories of released prisoners whose convictions were quashed being charged for their keep (from March 2007, the Bridgewater Three, Wrongly convicted men must pay 'lodgings' costs for prison, and Warren Blackwell), and of course our own Respected & Beloved Government's way of discouraging rejected refugees in a similar way. Can't promise I'll put the links to those recent Australian stories, but they're there, in solid factual reports.

[From www.thelooniverse.com/ books/ kastner.html]
(To establish the proper atmosphere, this is as good a place as any to show a sample of the bill you got for having your husband killed by the Nazis … Hangman's Bill (Eric Kastner) Yes, you were supposed to pay for the execution (or else...) It comes to a total of what now must be well over $6000. They even charged you 12 cents for the stamp to send you the bill.