So, it’s November 9th again and I wanted to write a post on this specific day and why it’s so important to people over here.
This day is incredibly important still to this day as it signalled the beginning of Germany’s and possibly even Humanity’s darkest chapter – and it still reminds us about the atrocities committed at the time. It also serves as a reminder that we have to act and that we can’t tolerate hate crimes and hate speech. If we tolerate the intolerant, the tolerant won’t be tolerated.
And especially now with certain “free speech absolutists”, it’s quite uncertain whether or not specific events may repeat themselves. It’s almost as if politicians have forgotten what happened back then.
We’ve got a dangerous Italy right now, a Germany that is not going anywhere while the far-right is gaining more approval, and then we also have orange idiots that may somehow rise again. Of course, there are also Putin, Erdogan, and other problematic figures in these times… and with neo-nazis in America and Europe, I’m not actually sure why more people aren’t vocal about this stuff.
The media seems to have forgotten about climate change and about fascists. At the same time, more and more people think of themselves as “apolitical” or “centralist” which is… stupid. Not because it’s not valid or anything. If you don’t wanna deal with politics, that’s totally fair. No, it’s stupid because “apolitical” is just another word for “I don’t care about other people” while “centralist” is just “I don’t like doing anything”.
Reichspogromnacht (9th/10th of November, 1938)
It’s been 84 years since the start of one of the darkest chapters of Humanity, Europe, Germany, or whatever you wanna call it.
During the November Pogroms, many organised groups attacked Jewish citizens, shops, synagogues and other facilities, leading to approximately 400 murders, 1400 destroyed synagogues, and about 7,500 destroyed businesses and homes. Jewish cemeteries as well as other institutions were ravaged.
Goebbels publicly said that they wouldn’t organize these deeds but they also wouldn’t obstruct them, as a state.
This was essentially the night when decades of antisemitism were suddenly deemed “justified” because of one single assassination that happened on November 7th, 1938, where a 17-year-old Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan killed a German emissary in Paris. In reality, Goebbels and the other leaders of the NSDAP just needed some reason, any reason, to lit the spark. Hitler’s coup failed previously but after this, they’d have the opportunity to try again and succeed.
The Chief of the Police, Reinhard Heydrich basically wrote towards the different police stations:
- Anything is allowed as long as “Germans” (as opposed to “Jews”) aren’t endangered.
- Houses and Shops owned by Jews may be destroyed but not looted.
- In streets with lots of shops, it’s important that non-Jewish shops are protected.
These aren’t the actual quotes. The actual quotes were in German and wordier and if you wanna read up on all of this, I’d highly recommend checking out these two articles (but there are many other sources out there as well):
- Reichspogromnacht; Landeszentrale für politische Bildung BW
- 9 November 1938, Jüdisches Museum Berlin (this one is an article written in English)
Remember, remember the 9th of November
Whenever it comes up, I hear idiots screaming “why are you still going on about this? It’s been 80 years” and the answer to that is simply: If we don’t remember this, we’ll do mistakes again.
Frankly, when I was in school, I wasn’t sure why we were learning about Nazi Germany if most of us were not there. Heck, my parents aren’t from Germany, so why should I learn about it – I thought.
But as time went on, stuff happened. The Neo-Nazi stuff is still relevant nowadays with people who still do very horrible things.
There are Nazi demos not just in Germany or Europe but even in the United States.
Trump openly used Nazi rhetoric and you could see how and why he gained popularity because of it. It still works and that’s frightening.
And then you have Italy and Poland and Russia and other countries moving into concerning directions.
We have to remember these events and ensure that none of it happens again.
That means, we have to oppose the intolerant, we have to be vocal about issues, we have to go out there and vote. We have to actively ensure that none of those atrocities get ever committed again.
We had the rise of Pegida, Legida, the AfD, and “Der Flügel”, as well as other parties and groups.
The Paradox of Tolerance
I’ll just toss this graphic in there because it’s always relevant.
I think that’s also where the post should end. It’s a sad day. We’ll need to remember it though because what followed after 9/11/1938 is not something that should repeat itself.
Sadly, my time on the internet and Twitter has shown me that many people still think that Nazi Germany is still a thing or that everyone in Germany is a Nazi to this day. People don’t educate themselves. Some people still think there’s a wall. It’s worrying.
At the same time, there are also many people on the internet, on Reddit, on Twitter, and on other platforms who think it’s funny to be edgy or who think that regulations and moderation are against “free speech” when in reality, slurs and other forms of hate speech are just the beginning of stuff like this.