A store damaged during Kristallnacht. Photo: German Federal Archives via Wikimedia Commons.

Jews around the world will commemorate this weekend the 81st anniversary of “Kristallnacht” — also known as the “Night of Broken Glass” — which was a prelude to the Nazi Holocaust.

Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued a statement on Friday, saying, “This weekend marks the 81st anniversary of Pogrom Night (Kristallnacht), when Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools, and businesses, and murdered close to 100 people simply because they were Jews. Pogrom Night was a turning point, an indicator of the unconscionable horror that was to be visited upon the Jewish people by the Nazi regime.”

“With the recent antisemitic attack in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, as well as a frightening spike in antisemitism in the US with the Tree of Life synagogue attack last year, we are witnessing a resurgence in Jew-hatred that must be recognized as a dire warning,” they added. “It will take a coordinated effort across governments and societies, by Jews and non-Jews alike, to stem the pandemic of Jew-hatred at home and around the world.”

On Thursday, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York held a Kristallnacht remembrance event that was cosponsored by the Israeli UN Mission and the March of the Living organization.

At the gathering, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The world’s oldest hatred is still with us.”

The world, he noted, must “act with urgency before hatred becomes normal” and “education must be a key part in this preventive approach.”

“People are not born to hate,” Gutteres concluded. “Intolerance is learned, so it can be prevented and unlearned. I will continue to call out antisemitism.”

Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon said, “In order to rid the world from this disease, we must vaccinate children and adults alike. The only vaccine against antisemitism is education; education to ideas such as compassion, understanding and tolerance.”

“The State of Israel is the target of many antisemitic acts,” Danon continued. “But a thriving, strong, democratic Jewish state is also the best answer to antisemitism. Israel has learned the lessons of history and continues to serve as a safe home for all Jews and to fight antisemitism wherever it raises its ugly head.”

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