Nov. 9 marks the first day Nazi Germany carried out an organized campaign against Jewish people that would continue on to murder 6 million Jews over the next seven years. In German-controlled territory, the SA, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, destroyed 267 synagogues, looted an estimated 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, and killed 91 people.
The “Night of Broken Glass” was the beginning of the coordinated violence against Jews in Germany, annexed Austria and the Sudetenland in the former Czechoslovakia. SA operatives were joined by Hitler Youth and Nazi Party officials in the riots designed to appear spontaneous and uncoordinated. An estimated 30,000 Jewish males were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, where many of them would die.
Nov. 9 is now marked as the International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism in an effort to ensure the past is not forgotten. The commemorative day began in 1992 and calls on people to “ bring an end to hate.”
“We must be aware that the Holocaust happened with the silent acceptance and support of the broad majority,” said UNITED for Intercultural Action, a European group against fascism and racism. “Nowadays, hate crimes are frequent realities, extreme right-wing parties are elected into parliaments and xenophobic propaganda is becoming legitimate in societies.”
This Nov. 9, Republican Donald Trump won the presidency after waging a campaign tinged with anti-Semitism, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. He beat Democrat Hillary Clinton, whose campaign slogan “Stronger Together” did not convince white, working-class voters that hers was a path that could bring them economic prosperity. Clinton’s loss shocked the nation and the world.
There were reports Wednesday of anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti in Philadelphia. A storefront was tagged with a swastika and the words “Sieg heil 2016.” The word “Trump” with the “T” drawn as a swastika also appeared in the city, photos show.
Trump’s is hardly the only wave of populism sweeping the globe. In Germany too anti-immigrant sentiment has emerged as Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to take in 1 million of the refugees arriving on the continent fleeing war and lack of economic opportunity.
France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the country’s far-right National Front Party, congratulated Trump on his win and called him the “president of the people.”
“What happened last night was not the end of the world, it was the end of a world,” Le Pen said.
In another display of populism, Britain stunned the globe last summer by voting to leave the European Union in part due to promises it would then have more control over its borders and immigration policy. Trump’s victory on the anniversary of Kristallnacht was equally unexpected.