Posted by: aboutalbion | November 10, 2013

Kristallnacht + 75 years

The Kristallnacht anniversary yesterday, and then (in the UK) Remembrance Sunday today.  Now that my ‘history gene’ has been turned on in my retirement, my curiosity goes in all directions.

So in a brief visit to a few popular websites, I have formed the impression that Kristallnacht in 1938, and the Shoah (in the years after), were state-sponsored moral evils whose roots include a long-standing European debate about ‘the Jewish Question’.

I read that ‘the Jewish Question’ was a phrase used in England in the context of the Jewish Naturalization Act 1753.  Again, in 1789 in post Revolution France the same matter was discussed as ‘la Question Juive’.  And then in Germany, Bruno Bauer addressed the same question in his 1843 book ‘Die Judenfrage’.  To which Karl Marx replied with an essay in 1844 entitled ‘Zur Judenfrage’.  I read of the pogroms against the Jews in the area of the Russian empire between 1880 and 1920, and the smaller pogrom against Jews in Tredegar (Wales) in 1911.

In my Saturday newspaper yesterday, I couldn’t help noticing that a senior journalist wrote that he has just been reading a pamphlet written by his grandfather in Berlin.  Under a (translated) title of ‘Prelude to Pogroms?’, the journalist’s grandfather wrote: “A mighty anti-Semitic flood has broken over our heads.”  And the date of the pamphlet?  1919.  Fourteen years before Hitler came to power.

If I am in any way representative of my culture, then my culture is largely unaware of the discussions and actions across Europe about ‘the Jewish Question’ in the couple of centuries before 1938.

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