Kristallnacht survivors warn about antisemitism, hate speech

Nov 8, 2022, 11:24 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 7:51 am
File- Flowers lie on a concrete slab of the Holocaust Memorial to mark the International Holocaust ...

File- Flowers lie on a concrete slab of the Holocaust Memorial to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Berlin, Jan. 27, 2015. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

BERLIN (AP) — Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they mark the 84th anniversary on Wednesday of Kristallnacht — the “Night of Broken Glass” — when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.

In the campaign #ItStartedWithWords by the organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis, several Holocaust survivors have recounted on video how antisemitic speech led to actions that nearly saw the mass extermination of Jews in Europe in the last century.

Among them is 90-year-old Eva Szepesi, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.

“It started for me when I was 8 years old, and I could not understand why my best friends were shouting bad names at me,” she said.

Szepesi was shocked how her best friends could treat her like this, but soon the Jewish girl found herself fleeing from the Nazis before she was captured and deported to Auschwitz at age 12. Her parents and brother were murdered in Auschwitz.

On Nov. 9, 1938, the Nazis, among them many ordinary Germans, killed at least 91 people and vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses during Kristallnacht pogroms across Germany and Austria. They also burned more than 1,400 synagogues, according to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Up to 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many taken to Nazi death camps such as Dachau or Buchenwald. Hundreds more committed suicide or died as a result of the mistreatment in the camps years before the official mass deportations began.

By the end of World War II in 1945, the Nazis and their henchmen had murdered 6 million European Jews.

The #ItStartedWithWords campaign, a relaunch by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also referred to as the Claims Conference, is a digital education project in which survivors are reflecting on the moments that led up to the Holocaust. That was a period when they could not have predicted the ease with which their neighbors, teachers, classmates and colleagues would turn on them, transitioning from words of hate to acts of violence.

“Relaunching this campaign goes beyond commemorating Kristallnacht,” said Greg Schneider, the Claims Conference’s executive vice president. “With the growing prevalence of Holocaust denial, distortion and hate speech on social platforms, the core message behind the #ItStartedWithWords campaign becomes even more important: The Holocaust did not start with camps, ghettos and deportations; it started with words of hate.”

In Germany, a group tracking antisemitism said it documented more than 2,700 incidents in the country last year, including 63 attacks and six cases of extreme violence.

In a report in June, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism said anti-Jewish conspiracy narratives related to the coronavirus pandemic and antisemitic criticism of Israel in the Middle East conflict were the main drivers of the 2,738 incidents it documented.

Incidents of bias and hate speech have also been rising in the U.S., including recent comments by the singer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and a social media post shared by NBA star Kyrie Irving.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - The New Synagogue, the Centrum Judicum is seen from the TV tower in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 10, 2020. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
            
              -FILE - The November 1938 file photo shwos a group of people standing outside a Jewish-owned shop in an unnamed German town, after the Kristallnacht, when Nazi-incited mass riots left more than 91 jews dead, damaged more than 1,000 synagogues and left some 7,500 Jewish businesses ransacked and looted. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo, File)
            
              Students visit the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
            
              Clouds cover the sky over the Holocaust memorial at the eve of the the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
            
              FILE - In this Nov. 10, 1938 file picture, a youth with a broom prepares to clear up the broken window glass from a Jewish shop in Berlin, the day after the "Kristallnacht" rampage when Nazis set fire to hundreds of synagogues, looted thousands of Jewish businesses and attacked Jews in Germany and Austria. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/File)
            
              FILE - Local resident Juergen Schulz lays down a flower after he polishes so-called 'Stolpersteine' or 'stumbling stones' commemorating people deported and killed by the Nazis in front of his house in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 9, 2021. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
            
              File- Flowers lie on a concrete slab of the Holocaust Memorial to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Berlin, Jan. 27, 2015. Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they commemorated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass", when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

AP

FILE - A worker rides a rail car at a BNSF rail crossing in Saginaw, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 20...
Associated Press

Rail workers say deal won’t resolve quality-of-life concerns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When BNSF railroad conductor Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work this summer, he had to make a choice: go to the dentist to get a cavity in his molar filled or attend a party for his son’s 7th birthday. He chose his son. “Ultimately I decided to take […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Web designer Lorie Smith is shown in her office on Nov. 7, 2022, in the southwest part of Li...
Associated Press

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex couples but also Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and others […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: December 3, gas disaster in Bhopal

Today in History Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2022. There are 28 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India. On […]
23 hours ago
FILE - John Duarte, a Republican candidate in California's 13th Congressional District, arrives at ...
Associated Press

GOP’s Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Rajan […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials seeking $27 billion due to delays in confronting the attacker, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Kristallnacht survivors warn about antisemitism, hate speech