10 Nov 2008

70th anniversary of Kristallnacht

3:24 pm on 10 November 2008

Germany is marking the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht - or the Night of Broken Glass.

Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, is regarded as the starting point of the Holocaust.

Nazis ransacked Jewish homes and businesses and burned synagogues as police and firefighters looked on.

More than 90 Jewish people were murdered and about 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps on 9 - 10 November 1938.

Millions were killed by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, including about six million Jewish people.

At a ceremony at Berlin's largest synagogue, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germans "cannot be silent" in the face of anti-Semitism.

"Indifference is the first step towards endangering essential values," she told those attending the service at the commemoration service with the Central Council of Jews at the Rykestrasse synagogue in Berlin.

She said xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism must never be given an opportunity in Europe again.

The Rykestrasse synagogue was damaged in the Kristallnacht rampage but has been recently restored.

On Sunday evening, a concert entitled "Tu Was", or "Do Something", will be held at Tempelhof airport in Berlin.

Organiser, British violinist Daniel Hope, said he was inspired by reading a book about the events in 1938 and realising there was nothing to mark the day other than the official ceremony.

Better education urged

The Central Council of German Jewssays there should be better education for Germany children about the events of the Nazi era.

Secretary general Stephan Kramer told a German newspaper that young people should "more than ever at the moment be warned against the dangers of the future, of a new anti-Semitism and of the far-right".

On Saturday, police estimated that about 600 people marched in Fulda in central Germany to protest against a march by members of the right wing National Democratic Party (NPD).

Demonstrators held up signs saying that Fulda was "a Nazi-free zone" and waved Israeli flags.

Police said the demonstrations were peaceful and the two groups were kept apart.