Yesterday and today (Nov. 9 and 10) mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most shameful chapters in the often shameful history of mankind. Kristallnacht was two days of a rampage against Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria. Businesses, homes and synagogues owned by Jews were destroyed. Jewish people were murdered or captured to be sent to concentration camps. If you want a much more thorough treatment of what happened Wikipedia as always is a good place to start.
We must never forget Kristallnacht, nor the events which led to these horrific days. Most know that Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and later ascended to dictator. During his rise Hitler used Jews as the scapegoats for any and all of Germany’s problems. Following years of anti-Jewish propaganda and stricter and stricter anti-Jewish laws, the Nazis let rage against an incident evolve into full blown anti-Jewish riots.
That very short history is to just remind us how easily people can be led by demagogues and propaganda into horrific ends. Our greatest firewalls against creating such an environment is a skeptical watchdog press and labor unions. One additional firewall we have in today’s world is the internet and the droves of citizen journalists who stand in the way those who want absolute power and their quest.
The media has for the most part become the lapdog of those in power in recent years. The have consolidated into a very concentrated group with profit as their real driving motive. Unions have nearly been obliterated, although they do show signs of resurrecting. Right now an open internet may be our best defense against future demagoguery and propaganda.
Kristallnacht or anything like it must never happen again. We must keep the firewalls in place and functioning well.