BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Saturday to be vigilant to the dangers of anti-Semitism ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom.
In her weekly podcast, Merkel described the events of November 9, 1938 — also known as "The Night of Broken Glass" — as "one of the darkest moments in German history."
She called on "all the people in this country to show their civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated."
Merkel added it was "almost inexplicable but also the reality that no Jewish institution can be left without police protection."
Nevertheless, she noted there was now a thriving Jewish community in Germany, with an influx from the former Soviet Union.
On Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi thugs plundered Jewish businesses throughout Germany, torched some 300 synagogues and rounded up about 30,000 Jewish men for deportation to concentration camps.
Some 90 Jews were killed in the orgy of violence.
In 1933, when Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler came to power, there were around 560,000 Jews living in Germany. By 1950, their number had dropped to 15,000.
Today, there are some 200,000 Jews, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Nov. 9 is a particularly noteworthy date in German history, as it was on this day in 1989 that the Berlin Wall fell.
© AFP 2014