" Remaining Always Vigilant"

Die Presse (11/10/03)

Austria and Germany Commemorate the Victims of the “Reichskristallnacht”

Vienna/Berlin - On the occasion of the "November Pogrom" carried out sixty-five years ago by the National Socialists, Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg emphasized that it is also essential to remain vigilant in the future and "to educate the youth in a democratic fashion." It is not enough "to look back only to the past," claimed Eisenberg.

Austria and Germany commemorated the victims of the Reichskristallnacht" (Night of Broken Glass"), the expression coined by the Nazis. During the nights of November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazis launched a pogrom against the Jews throughout the entire German Reich, to which Austria also belonged at the time, and murdered them, brought them to concentration camps, destroyed their houses, apartments and businesses. In Vienna alone, forty-two synagogues and prayer houses were destroyed.

Viennese Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn spoke of the "abyss of human guilt." Viennese Elder Archbishop Cardinal Franz König, in a greeting delivered to the participants of the ecumenical "Mechaye Hametim" commemorative worship service in Vienna’s Ruprechtskirche, referred to the word of the prophets: "Israel, I haven’t forgotten you."

There were also worship services conducted in Germany. In Munich the cornerstone was laid for a new synagogue. Federal President Johannes Rau reminded the public that violence used against minority groups would not be tolerated.

The ceremony, attended also by the Head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel, took place under high security. In September a number of neo-Nazis, who had planned an assault on the celebration, were arrested.