On 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, German Chancellor Warns of anti-Semitism

Chancellor Angela Merkel calls the 1938 pogrom 'one of the darkest moments' in German history, laments the need for police protection of Jewish institutions even today.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that she regretted the fact that 75 years after Kristallnacht—the night of broken glass – Jewish institutions in Germany still require the protection of the German police.

In an interview posted Saturday on the chancellor's website, she called the 1938 pogrom – in which synagogues were burned, Jewish businesses were looted and Jews were arrested and killed – "one of the darkest moments in Germany's history." The 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht will be observed around the world on November 9.

Merkel called on Germans to "show civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated," adding that "we must always remember out past so we can look responsibly into the future."

The current situation, Merkel continued, in which Jewish institutions must be protected by the German police, is "depressing." "This is a situation beyond explanation, yet it is also the reality on the ground at the gates of kindergartens, schools and Jewish institutions German policemen must stand guard to protect them."

Merkel also touched on the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment, saying that "it is acceptable to criticize Israel's politics even among the residents of the state of Israel there are different political opinions, it is acceptable to make them heard, but I oppose generalizations and the [possibility of] anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist opinions" in the guise of criticism of Israeli politics."

She added that "Germany is committed to Israel's security." "We want a state of Israel that lives in peace with its neighbors," she said, "that's why we're calling for a two-state solution and are hoping for progress in the peace process. I have had many talks on the matter with Prime Minister Netanyahu, as well as with Palestinian President Abbas."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arriving at the Social Democratic Party headquarters for coalition talks in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.Credit: AP

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