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Neo-Nazis vandalize German Holocaust monument on Kristallnacht anniversary

Haaretz, November 10, 2012, By Ofer Aderet and DPA

On same night as anti-Semitic incident, more than 1,000 people march in a lantern-lit procession against racism and right-extremism.

Illustration: The Star of David memorial covered with autumn leaves is pictured on Nov. 9, 2012

Eleven Holocaust memorial plaques in the east German city of Greifswald were uprooted by neo-Nazis on Friday, in an anti-Semitic incident that occurred on the 74th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

The memorial plaques were part of a monument to mark the November 9, 1938 pogroms in which the Jews of Greifswald were arrested and murdered, and Jewish businesses and synagogues were vandalized.

The 11 plaques uprooted on Friday night were part of the European Stolperstein (“stumbling block”) memorial project. Each plaque was engraved with the names of Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and embedded in the sidewalk in front of the houses where they once lived.

The local police has announced a 2,500 Euro reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest of the perpetrators.

Greifswald mayor Arthur Konig said he would do everything in his power to support the investigation, saying, “People who deny to this day that Jewish citizens were slain (in the Holocaust) will not gain the upper hand.”

Marching against racism

A red rose lies at Gleis 17 (platform 17) holocaust memorial at a former cargo railway station in Berlin-Grunewald November 9, 2006, to mark Kristallnacht. Photo by Reuters

Also on Friday, more than 1,000 people in the eastern German state of Western Pomerania marched in a lantern-lit procession against racism and right-extremism, marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht. The crime prevention council of the small city of Wolgast called for the event to take place.

Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, was the first openly violent Nazi-sanctioned targeting of Jews, when mobs torched synagogues and destroyed thousands of Jewish shops and private homes around the country.

In 1989, it was also the date that the Berlin Wall fell and German President Joachim Gauck said Friday in Berlin that the two events were inseparable.

“The happy events of November 9, 1989, are a part of the other, bitter November 9,” Gauck said, adding that the younger generation should never forget “Nazi barbarism,” but should also include the fall of the Wall in their memories.

The president said that today, instead of the state-sanctioned exclusion of Jews, there was a legal system of democracy and human rights, thanks also to the East Germans who took part in the revolution for freedom.

A spokesperson for a coalition supporting the Wolgast effort, “Western Pomerania: Open-minded, Democratic, Diverse”, said that the march would defend the grave and historical meaning of the day for victims of Nazism, and that it would serve as a clear rejection of neo-Nazi ideology.

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