In Europe it probably got overshadowed by the commemoration of the 1918 Armistice, but for Jews everywhere, Kristall-Nacht (crystal night) was a major event of 1938 when Nazi Germany decided to demonstrate anti-Semitism quite violently, in a foretaste of things to come.
It began in neighbouring Poland when the anti-Semitic government there decided it was going to strip Jews living outside the country of their Polish citizenship so they couldn’t return. This was unacceptable to the Nazis so they proceeded to round up all the Polish Jews living in Germany, put them on trains and dump them across the border. A relative of one of these Jews responded by going into the Germany Embassy in Paris and shooting dead an official.
It was just the excuse the Nazis needed to engage in an orchestrated pogrom which took place on the night of 9-10 November. According to the Wikipedia article:-
When deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides are included, the death toll climbs into the hundreds. Additionally, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.
Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were either destroyed or damaged.
Of course, anti-Semitism didn’t begin with the Nazis — it was a European tradition going back centuries — and it didn’t end with them either: the main perpetrators of it today are Muslims, including many of those who have migrated to Europe from the Middle East. This article reports Muslims disrupting a Kristallnacht commemoration in London by shouting:
“Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” thereby referring to the 7th century massacre of Jews by Muslims, when the latter expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, which lies in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
For most of us living well away from the Middle East and Europe, hostility towards Jews makes little or no sense, particularly when many look the same as other white Europeans. Still, for the Nazis of the 1930s and many (but not all) Muslims today, Jews are a race to be hated.
It is possible to stop defining people by race, and view everyone instead as individuals?