Earlier this month we marked the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, The Night of Shattered Glass.
That day marked a watershed in Germany’s rapid decline to the rapacious instrumentality of a thug — whose name deserves to be blotted from the tongue of civilized discourse — bent on self-aggrandizement and plunder, and who would stop at nothing to achieve it.
On that day, this unspeakable thug enlisted the populace of Germany and their Austrian cousins in the commission of a murderous crime so heinous and so inhuman that it will stand for millennia as the archetype of tyranny and evil.
Nov. 9 was also the 22nd anniversary of the re-unification of Germany and the symbolic end of the Cold War. Before we celebrate the symbolic triumph of democracy over communism, let us remember another, even more significant event of the 20th century. Let us remember that darkest of nightmares, which lasted to the middle of the 1940s that began on that Nov. 9 in 1938.
Let us remember that on that Nov. 9, Germany became the world’s greatest threat to freedom, a threat of oppression for decades to come, oppression so dire that the combined armies of several nations needed to become allies to put a stop to it.
And let us not forget that communists — yes, communists — were among the Allies who were instrumental in the triumph over that threat.
Let Germans celebrate the return of Germany to the company of civilized humanity, and the return to Germany of the precious gift of democracy, if — this time — they can keep it.
But let them not forget the events of November 1938 and the consequences they brought down upon themselves, and let them remember never to let anything like it happen.
David L. Paktor