Remembering the night of broken glass
Every year on November 9, people remember how many synagogues, shops and houses of Jews were destroyed in 1938. However, this year the Dutch Protestant church made a surprising move.
On November 9, 1938, Nazis destroyed many synagogues and Jew-owned shops during a pogrom in Germany. Because of all the shattered glass, the night became known as Kristallnacht. In 2020, 82 years after that horrific night, Kristallnacht is remembered all over Europe and even worldwide. In the UK, surviving Jewish witnesses retell what happened. Throughout Germany, memorial wreaths were placed at memorial statues and synagogues. Even though coronavirus prevents people from gathering in large groups, the association of those persecuted by the Nazi regime hopes that people will still use the day of remembrance to stand up against anti-Semitism. Therefore, people could also join an international online commemoration called ‘Let There Be Light’, hosted by the International March of the Living. Even overseas, in the United States, remembering Kristallnacht was part of the Holocaust Education Week.
The church pleads guilty
In the Netherlands, something remarkable took place. The Protestant Church pleaded guilty for how the church behaved before, during, and after World War II. The church’s behaviour had cleared the path for anti-Semitism in society by not really resisting against the Nazis. Some from the Dutch Jewish community responded positively to the church’s confession, but according to relatives of resistance fighters, the church made a huge mistake. According to the group, the Protestant Church had no idea how big the resistance truly was during the war. It is also striking that the Protestant Church pleads guilty now, in a year in which the Dutch government also offered its apologies for their actions in World War II. Moreover, the king criticised the actions of his great grandmother, the late queen Wilhelmina, who supposedly never called the Dutch to defend the Jews. 
Although the plea of guilt by the Dutch church took 82 years, the German Christian Church had acknowledged the Christian guilt of Kristallnacht in 1988. However, it did take a while until the Evangelical Church said they wanted a remembrance day.
No decrease in anti-Semitism
Though Kristallnacht and the Holocaust are remembered yearly, anti-Semitism is still very prevalent. It is not uncommon that memorials are vandalised or gravestones toppled and graveyards desecrated.   In 2017 and 2018, people were warned for a possible rise in anti-Semitism as a response to remembring Kristallnacht.   Last year, a star of David and ‘911’ were graffitied on a synagogue in London, which might have been an anti-Semitic reference to either the terror of 9/11 or Kristallnacht. This is a reminder that even when some try to make amends and even plead guilty, it is clear that anti-Semitism is still alive today.
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