Looking to History and Recent Events, German Leaders Defend Democracy and Pluralism

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tags: Germany, democracy, Kristallnacht

Amid a resurgence of xenophobia that has reshaped Germany’s political landscape, the nation’s leaders warned on Friday that Germans must defend democracy to ensure that hate crimes like Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led burning of synagogues and plundering of Jewish shops 80 years ago, “never again” take place.

On a day that commemorated both the centennial of the declaration of Germany’s first democratic republic and, just 20 years later, Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Germans to embrace an “enlightened patriotism” that celebrates their democratic achievements while guarding them against the forces of hate that led to the country’s descent into the “breach of civilization,” the Holocaust.

The president addressed Parliament in the first in a series of memorials commemorating a number of historic events that converge on Nov. 9, considered by Germans to be their “fateful day.” At a ceremony honoring the victims of Kristallnacht, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Later Friday, officials laid wreaths before a remnant of the Berlin Wall, which was breached under the pressure of peaceful East German protesters on this date in 1989, a year before the country was reunited.

Read entire article at NYT

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