Never Again is Now: Kristallnacht Anniversary 9/11

9 November 2023

8.5 MINS

We are holding a Kristallnacht event by Zoom tonight to commemorate the stand by Aboriginal Christians William Cooper and the Australian Aborigines’ League against Kristallnacht in 1938 with a protest march to the German consulate in Melbourne. We ask, what would William Cooper do today?  On the Zoom call, we have speakers from Israel, Ps Avi Mizrachi and Ps Howard Bass, who will give us an up-to-date account of what is happening in Israel.

Kristallnacht was Europe’s 9/11, like a bomb dropping on European Jews when Kristallnacht or the Night of the Broken Glass ripped through Germany, Austria, and Sudetenland. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust or Shoah; one million of them were children. The cry since then has been never again.

However, never again is now. Early on 7 October 2023, Hamas terrorists from Gaza rampaged through Israel, slaughtering 1400 Jews, many in their beds on Simchat Torah (rejoicing of the Torah), the last holy day of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. Israel was taken by surprise just as they were in the Yom Kippur War, 50 years and one day earlier, on the holiest day of the Biblical feast calendar, when they were attacked by a coalition of Arab states.

If anyone doubts this is a Jihad or holy war of Muslims against the people of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants who live in the Promised Land covenanted by God to them, then surely the day Islamists choose to attack is revealing.

Inhumanity and Cowardice

So, on 7 October, whole families were burned and/or tortured and mutilated, babies were beheaded or cut out of the bellies of pregnant women, women were raped; the elderly were not spared, including Holocaust survivors who never thought they would see this again, and over 200 Israelis were kidnapped. It is a war crime to deliberately attack civilians like this. The terrorists wore body cameras to capture the carnage and gleefully boast about it.

Muslims around the world, including in Australia, celebrated and called for more Jihad on the streets of cities around the world, including Australia. Authorities seemed cowed into allowing it. “Gas the Jews,” reminiscent of the gassing of the Jews in the Holocaust, was only one of the murderous chants. Another was “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a genocidal chant to remove all Jews from Israel, i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Why am I relating the carnage on 7 October, one month ago, to Kristallnacht, the start of the Holocaust? Because more Jews were killed on that day than on any other day since the Holocaust. It is with horror and fear that Jews around the world are seeing 1930s Germany happen before their very eyes with calls around the world for the destruction of Jews worldwide, not just in Israel. Many people have asked: how could a civilised society like Europe have allowed the Holocaust, even enabled it, even gloated over it?

Now we can see how. Australian authorities and those in Western nations have stood by and allowed our streets to be taken over by pro-Hamas forces who are supported by left-wing apologists, including the Greens party in the Senate and some government MPs who rely on Arab votes.

Jewish children in Australia are told not to wear their school uniforms to school, Jewish university students study at home and do their exams in safe rooms, security is increased at Jewish organisations, and Jews worldwide are told not to wear anything identifying them as Jewish. What have we come to? It is shades of the Holocaust all over again. So, how did the Holocaust start?

Abuse of the Law

 “On the night of November 9, 1938, the sounds of breaking glass shattered the air in cities throughout Germany while fires across the country devoured synagogues and Jewish institutions. By the end of the rampage, gangs of Nazi stormtroopers had destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesses, set fire to more than 900 synagogues, killed ninety-one Jews, and deported some 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps.” (PBS) [1]

Cleaning the street after Kristallnacht.

Cleaning the street after Kristallnacht.

The Nazis were waiting for the excuse or opportunity to begin ridding Europe of the Jews. In March 1938, two weeks after the German invasion of Austria, the Polish government announced an Expatriates Law, which meant Poles living outside Poland had to have their passports stamped by Polish consular officials by 31 October.

About 70,000 Polish Jews were living in Germany, and the Nazis denied them the validating stamp, making them stateless, a fearful development as it would prevent them from emigrating. As the deadline approached, the Gestapo began rounding up Polish Jews and dumping them in appalling conditions on the Polish side of the border. Polish Vice-Premier Kwiatkowski criticised Australia for not taking more Polish immigrants. [2]

On November 7, a 17-year-old Polish Jewish student named Hershel Grynszpan shot Ernst vom Rath, the Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris. Grynszpan, enraged by the deportation of his parents to Poland from Hanover, Germany, where they had lived since 1914, hoped that his dramatic action would alert the world to the ominous plight of Europe’s Jews.

When the French police arrested Grynszpan, he sobbed, “Being a Jew is not a crime. I am not a dog. I have a right to live, and the Jewish people have a right to exist on earth. Wherever I have been, I have been chased like an animal.”[3] Vom Rath died on November 9.

Kristallnacht was the culminating event in a series of anti-Semitic policies set in place since Hitler took power in 1933. The law of 7 April 1933 for the Reconstruction of the Civil Service provided that civil servants of non-Aryan descent were to be retired immediately. The Nazis defined a non-Aryan as someone with a grandparent or parent who was Jewish. This led to the dismissal of many university and school teachers, doctors, scientists, some lawyers, and other civil servants. This law was the first of 400 pieces of legislation designed to force Jews out of the economy and society. By the end of 1933, about 60,000 had emigrated from Germany, most of them Jews.

The Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriage between Jews and Germans to protect German blood and “honour”. In his bid to create an Aryan master race, Hitler was marching towards the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem”, the Nazi euphemism adopted in 1942 for the extermination of Jews.

Kristallnacht was also the beginning of the end, or the spark that ignited the Holocaust. 1938 seemed to be a turning point where the Nazis applied with brutal intensity the anti-Semitic policies they had developed since 1933. The Nazis started herding Jews into concentration camps.

What Information Did William Have?

What had William been reading in the newspapers during the lead-up to Kristallnacht, and how may it have shaped his thinking? This was not the era of TV sets, computers, and smartphones. He would have relied on newspapers and radio for his information, and maybe the rare book a man of impoverished means might come across.

The news of Kristallnacht hit Australian papers amazingly on Armistice Day – the 11th day of the 11th month, 1938. Not only was it a day to celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War 1, but it was actually a very important day, the 20th anniversary of the end of World War 1. Australian Prime Minister Lyons is reported as saying,

“On this 20th anniversary of the close of the Great War, surely our most consoling thought must be that what might have been at this very time a repetition of that awful experience was averted and that the nations that would have been drawn into conflict are uniting in their efforts to remove the causes of animosities and to find a basis for a peace that will last.” [4]

These news articles are the backdrop to the headline in The Argus: “New Campaigns Against Jews, Nazi Outbreaks” on 11 November. A few excerpts from the report are included here, so we know what William and other Australians were reading:

“A campaign against the Jews, almost unparalleled in its violence, has broken out in all parts of the Reich. It is the sequel to the fatal shooting of Herr vom Rath, a secretary at the German Embassy in Paris, by a young Jew.

Synagogues have been burnt, Jewish shops have been smashed and set on fire and looted, and several thousand Jews have been arrested. The damage was so extensive that many Germans described it as senseless and disapproved of it.

Most of the damage was done in Berlin and Munich, Hamburg and Hanover and Leipzig by bands of Nazis, armed with crowbars, who paraded the streets in cars, and then began their attacks on shops and other buildings owned by Jews.

According to reliable reports from Vienna, Breslau, Nuremberg and Hamburg, the raids were even more drastic at those places than in Berlin, where all Jews who have not been arrested are remaining behind locked doors.

The United States Consulate at Breslau was evacuated when the synagogue next door was set alight.

The wrecking was carried out with such thoroughness that official statements that it represented the spontaneous expression of the peoples’ indignation and that it was merely a normal reaction to an outrageous murder must be discounted.

The streets in front of the buildings were strewn with broken glass and other debris and with materials that had been torn from the shop windows. Scarcely a Jewish shop or restaurant escaped…”

This was Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass. It was also a night of terror, of death and destruction. It was a night when racial hatred spewed forth and a night when the Jews were stripped of their dignity, their safety, their human rights, and their livelihoods. It was a night when they were ripped out of their beds, out of their homes and out of the arms of their loved ones to death or an uncertain future in concentration camps.

Not only was the glass of Jewish homes and shops shattered that night, but also the lives, hopes and dreams of a peace-loving and innocent people. It was a night where not only were synagogues burnt, but sacred books, sacred furnishings and objects were burnt, and the centres of community life and worship went up in flames. It was meant to rip the heart and soul out of the Jewish people. It is a tribute to the strength and resilience of the Jewish people that they survived not only this nightmare, but the worse that was to come.

The account in The Argus of 11/11/38 continues:

“One band of youths entered a synagogue in Berlin, and, after wrecking the interior, dragged some of the furnishings out onto the street and set fire to them. They then lit a fire inside the building.

Huge crowds gathered to watch the synagogue burning. Flames and columns of thick smoke were still shooting from the roof at dawn today. The flames spread rapidly, and adjacent homes were threatened.

Altogether, six synagogues were set on fire in Berlin. Two were set on fire in Vienna, one at Linz and one at Munich.

They were all destroyed. The firemen merely tried to prevent the flames from reaching other buildings.

It is believed that the Jews who have been arrested in Vienna number 1,500 and that 1,000 have been arrested at Munich.

In addition to the Jews who have been arrested in Berlin, Munich, and Vienna, hundreds of others have been taken into custody at Breslau, Hamburg, and Nuremberg.”

So, we have a coordinated, not spontaneous attack, some of it led by Hitler Youth while crowds stood by and watched, neither stopping them nor speaking out. The firemen let the synagogues burn and were only concerned about adjoining properties. A lot of looting occurred that police apparently couldn’t stop.

There were numerous coordinated arrests, not of the rioters, looters and burners who were never brought to justice, but of the Jewish victims not just in German cities, but also in Austria and Sudetenland. No compensation was paid to Jewish people, but, as a race, they had to pay a huge compensation for the loss of vom Rath’s life and for the destruction wrought on them. An incredible situation.

While the Nazis attacked Jewish people, the secret police chief issued a decree that Jews were not allowed to possess arms on pain of 20 years imprisonment. They were rendered legally defenceless against the onslaught. The Argus continues:

“In Vienna, stormtroopers have formed cordons around the Jewish quarter, in which the police are conducting a house-to-house search.

The attacks at Munich were led by members of the Nazi Old Guard, who were celebrating the anniversary of the beer hall putsch of 1923. They assaulted many Jews as well as starting the fire in the synagogue and smashing many shops…” [5]


Some of this article is an excerpt from the book Shattered Lives Broken Dreams: William Cooper and Australian Aborigines Protest Holocaust by Barbara Miller. If you would like to join us on the Zoom call tonight at 7.30 p.m. AEDT, text Barbara on 0466 076 020.

We also have an Israel Humanitarian Appeal, which will be distributed by Pastors Avi and Howard, and you can receive a print from Norman and a book from Barbara on William Cooper for contributing. Find it on our church website.


[1] PBS, “America and the Holocaust: Kristallnacht“.

[2] Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November, 1938.

[3] JNi.Media (2015) Kristallnacht — The Origins, The Facts and The Figures.

[4] A reference to the Munich Agreement.

[5] The Argus, 11 November 1938.


Photos: Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 9 November 2023 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Terrible!In “The Merchant of Venice “Shylock says : ” I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes ?…. subject to the same diseases….as a Christian is ? If you prick us, do we not bleed …….”and so on . Racial and/or religious prejudice is a terrible thing, which, when I was young, my father taught me was wrong. My family did not share the Germans hatred of Jews, perhaps because Jews had been part of The Venetian Empire together with we Dalmatians for centuries. My family were ship owners ( “Merchants of Venice ” ). Jews who remained in Venice in 1914 volunteered to fight for Italy . They fought bravely in the deep snow of the Dolomite Mountains on the Eastern Front, only to suffer deportation to the extermination camps in WW2. Few survive in Venice today. My distant cousin , Nives Portolan, hid a Jew. Her punishment was sterilisation and being used as a whore for the Germans .

  2. H Harrison 10 November 2023 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your info Barbara. it leaves one grieved and speechless. But speak we must. So much hatred. The enemy very busy.

  3. Barbara Miller 10 November 2023 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Countess, you certainly have a story to tell yourself. What Jews and those who have stood up for them is appalling! Thanks for your contribution. Also thanks to Ms Harrison for your comments and yes we must speak up!!

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