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Is there a connection between the Jewish festival of Purim, Kristallnacht and ‘Umeå Against Nazism?’

Images of Kristallnacht -- Left to right: Destroyed Jewish owned shop, buring synagogue, Image appearing in a Nazi newspaper depicting Kristallnacht

Images of Kristallnacht — Left to right: Destroyed Jewish businesses, burning Synagogue, image appearing in a Nazi newspaper depicting Kristallnacht. The writing on the top left says “Death to the Jews, Grab what you can.” It also shows Nazi flags hanging from the windows and portrays rioters looting Jewish shops named Leven and Cohen. Books also appear to be burning in the square.

Israeli media outlet, Artutz Sheva 7, reports that organizers of Sweden’s Umeå Against Nazism have told Jews not to attend this year’s memorial held last week.  Umeå is the 12th largest city in Sweden and the event is sponsored by its city council.

It was intended to remember Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht (in English the Night of the Broken Glass), when Nazi Brown Shirts initiated a coördinated attack against Jews in both Austria and Germany over the night and morning of November 9-10, 1938.

Many believe this marked the start of the Nazi holocaust where they exterminated six million Jews in concentration camps.

The Swedish event has been celebrated for years to protest antisemitism.

However, for the first time this year’s organizers have decided not to invite the Jews.

Pro Palestinian groups — Muslim extremists, leftist and union organizations — have hijacked the event and are using it to promote their antisemitic and anti-Israel opinions. Over the years an increasing number of Palestinian flags have showed up at the rallies and last year there was one banner equating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika.

Speaking on behalf of the Workers’ Party (an extreme left-wing party in Sweden) event organizer Jan Hagglund said:

“The Jewish community wasn’t invited because we assumed they might be uncomfortable around that sort of thing.”

Others accused the Workers’ Party of inviting a number  of antisemitic groups to the rally.

Responding to the slight, spokesperson Carinne Sjöberg said it reflected Europe’s growing antisemitism. She said:

“This just shows how little they know about Kristallnacht… the Jews are hated by extremists from all sides. There are still many adults who dare not tell they are Jews.”

Because of this others organized counter-rallies protesting the antisemitic hijacking of Umeå Against Nazism.

The Night of the Broken Glass

During Kristallnacht, the Nazis attacked Jews across Austria and Germany in co-ordinated attacks over November 9-10, 1938. Though the Nazis claimed the attacks were spontaneous, it obviously was not.

Officially, the Nazis stated only 91 Jews were murdered during the rioting, but historian Richard Evans estimates that hundreds of Jews were killed once you factored in those who died in jail and related suicides.

The Nazis arrested 30,000 Jews with most ending up in concentration camps. They were later released as the Nazi program of exterminating Jews had not officially started.

Front page of the New York Times, November 11, 1938.

Front page of the New York Times, November 11, 1938.

Using sledgehammers and axes, the attacks initiated by SA Paramilitary soldiers and German civilians destroyed an estimated 1,000 synagogues and at least 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses. People looted the businesses before destroying them.

The rioters burnt the buildings provided there was no risk to nearby non-Jewish property.

Hundreds of Jews were beaten in the streets as onlookers cheered and the German police actually stood by and watched.

Reporting on the attack, England’s Daily Mail Telegraph wrote on November 11, 1938:

“Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the ‘fun’.”

The Jewish Festival Purim

It is the repeat of an unsuccessful attempt to exterminate the Jews over two thousand years ago around 480 BC. The Jewish festival of Purim held in the Jewish month of Adar (our February and March) commemorates the Jews’ salvation while in Persian captivity.

Similar to Kristallnacht, Haman, a senior bureaucrat in the Persian government, had orchestrated a coördinated attack against the Jews across the empire that would take place on a single day.

On the 13th day of Adar, Haman ordered people across Persia to take up arms and massacre the Jews and seize their property. Like Kristallnacht, people were urged on with the expectation they could loot the Jews.

But before this took place, God arranged for a Jewish woman to be chosen as wife to the Persian King Ahasuerus. With the help of her uncle Mordecai, Esther was able to turn the table on Haman and stop the attack.

If she had failed, undoubtedly there would have been a massacre of Jews in Persia along the lines of what happened in Nazi Germany.



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