EVERY year as the weather chills and the days grow short, Jews remember Nov. 9, 1938. In just a few hours, Nazis in Germany and Austria damaged or destroyed thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes. Scores of Jews were killed, hundreds injured and tens of thousands rounded up and deported to concentration camps.
The event, known as Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass,” for the shattered store windowpanes that littered the streets, marked the beginning of the Holocaust.
That was 62 years ago. In 2009, there were more anti-Semitic incidents worldwide than at any time since World War II, with a resurgence of accusations of blood libel and widespread dissemination of the false “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” throughout the Middle East.
At the same time, Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States and around the world, fueled by those who misinterpret the actions of a radical few as representative of the teachings of Islam.
In a recent presentation to a New Haven audience, Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, related two remarkable experiences.