[Hpn] Germans march against hate crimes on Kristallnacht anniversary FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 11 Nov 2000 12:09:47 -0800 (PST)

Are politicians speaking out and opposing "hate crimes" where you live? Why or why not? ``Foreigners, handicapped people and homeless have been chased through the streets, injured and beaten to death by young German men. That is a shame for our country.'' - German President Johannes Rau http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/686168883/_k/stVwfYlbqecGF2pE FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 09, 2000 GERMANS MARCH AGAINST HATE ON ANNIVERSARY OF 1939 NAZI POGRAM By TONY CZUCZKA Associated Press Writer BERLIN (AP) _ More than 200,000 people solemnly marched through the German capital Thursday in memory of victims of Kristallnacht, the Nazis' 1938 anti-Jewish pogrom that prefaced the Holocaust and is echoed menacingly in recent attacks on immigrants and synagogues. Marchers packed central Berlin's tree-lined Unter den Linden boulevard, culminating weeks of pleas by civic leaders for the nation to stand up against hate crimes and the far right. Thousands more demonstrated in several other cities. Demonstrators led by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hoisted banners against racism and green balloons emblazoned with ``No to Neo-Nazis,'' trooping through the chilly evening from prewar Berlin's main synagogue to a rally at the Brandenburg Gate. Speakers drew connections between the resurgent neo-Nazi attacks of recent months to Nov. 9, 1938, the ``Night of Broken Glass'' when synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany were attacked in a Nazi-orchestrated campaign and many Jews were sent to concentration camps. In a speech tinged with bitter emotion, the head of Germany's Jewish community implored citizens not to let up in combating anti-Semitism and racism. ``Can you imagine what goes on inside of us when we experience that Germans are once again setting alight our synagogues, desecrating our cemeteries, sending death and bomb threats to our homes?'' Paul Spiegel told the crowd. He lashed out sharply at conservative politicians for whipping up a national debate on immigration curbs and for suggesting that minorities had to adopt German culture. Such ``populist language'' amounted to ``verbally playing with fire,'' Spiegel said, and many demonstrators carried banners ridiculing politicians who back the idea of a ``leading culture.'' Earlier, a cantor said the kaddish _ the Jewish prayer for the dead _ outside the golden-domed synagogue. Addressing an applauding crowd, the leader of Berlin's Jewish community, Andreas Nachama, urged Germans to follow the example of the ``upstanding police officer'' who prevented Nazi SA storm troopers from torching the synagogue 62 years ago. Schroeder and other political German leaders, wearing yarmulkes on the podium, dedicated wreaths marking Kristallnacht. Backed by all major political parties, labor unions and Jewish leaders, the Berlin demonstration was scheduled late in the day so people could attend after work and school. Among them was Erika Hempel, a 70-year-old Berliner who said her grandfather was killed by the Nazis because he was a communist. ``You must go out on the street when you are against the Nazis,'' she said. Police said the march went off peacefully and drew more than 200,000 people, one of the capital's largest demonstrations of the last decade but smaller than the 350,000 who rallied against racism in 1992. This year's commemorations gained added poignancy with renewed attacks on foreigners and other minorities in Germany, which have left at least three dead this year. It is the worst wave of far-right violence since a surge that followed German unification in 1990. On Wednesday, the government formally decided to seek a ban on the small, far-right National Democratic Party, which German authorities accuse of fomenting neo-Nazi ideology, racism and anti-Semitism under a legal cover. Meanwhile, opposition conservatives have sparked a political debate on preserving the primacy of German culture in a country with nearly 10 percent foreign residents _ a topic that is more touchy here than in other countries in light of the Nazi past. Nov. 9 not only recalls Kristallnacht and Adolf Hitler's attempted ``beer hall putsch'' in Munich in 1923, but also one of Germany's most joyful moments: the fall of the Berlin Wall 11 years ago that made German reunification possible. Still, it was the dark side of Germany's history that prevailed Thursday. Nearly 100 people have been killed in far-right attacks in Germany since 1990, German President Johannes Rau said in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. ``Foreigners, handicapped people and homeless have been chased through the streets, injured and beaten to death by young German men,'' he exclaimed. ``That is a shame for our country.'' ``Today we say: We are confronting violence and hate,'' Rau said. ``Let us work for a Germany where we can be diverse without fear _ and that we can love because of that.'' AP-CS-11-09-00 1613EST Received Id AP100314F86641F1 on Nov 09 2000 15:14 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** *********************************************************** 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************