“The beast in man had lifted its mask and the time of euphemistic niceties and rationalizations was over.” Sophie Scholl and the White Rose
Tonight is the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, a pogrom against Jews “throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians The German authorities looked on without intervening.The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed.” Wikipedia.
Ninety-one Jews were murdered and it is estimated that 30,000 men were separated from their homes and their children and transported to concentration camps.
Kristallnacht was the turning point in Nazi scapegoating and oppressing Jews, moving policy from excluding Jews from political and social engagement to the destruction of property owned by Jews, the murder of Jews, and the importation of Jews to concentration camps.
We would do well to remember. Yesterday it was them. Today it’s someone else. Tomorrow it might be you or me. No one is safe until everyone is safe.
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” Martin Niemöeller, Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, The Pastor Who Defied the Nazis, Matthew D. Hockenos.
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.
My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman
Thank you for the reminder, Jamie.
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Synchronicity on the anniversary date, I got to the section in the book Neurotribes on the bus ride home yesterday about Kristallnacht, then the Spiegelgrund clinic, lives not worth living or unworthy was the dictate to starve and dissect the bodies of the ‘feeble-minded’ patients at Asperger’s University of Vienna clinic. Dissection for anatomical study, to give their lives meaning. People with mental illness, Down’s, autism deemed mouths not worth feeding.
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Horror upon horror.:-(
Shoes, pointing in all directions
as if they could not decide which
way to go. Ahead the river,
wide and fast, its shore empty of
boats. And people. The shoes, fissured,
soiled, heels broken; children’s clogs. As
they stood in their final sunlight:
prayers? Huddles of comfort? Piss and
shit leaking onto ancient leather.
Hurled backwards, no funeral flowers
save the smoke curling from the guns,
downwards, where the Duna receives
them, cold, reddening as it flows,
mere dross and cargo. A flask of
spirits opened, a cigarette
lit, safety catches on, the world
Shoes, now again
pointing in all directions.
Published in November 2018 in the Anthology Persona Non Grata, Ed. Isabelle Kenyon.
In Budapest, Hungary, there is a momument, a set of shoes, on the river bank, close to the Parliament Building. It is where 40 Jewish men, women and children were murdered in 1944 by the Blue Arrow Militia.
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