By Alan Caruba
An interesting thing happened in Prague last November. There was, so far as I can determine, virtually no news of the event except in a few newspapers that might be expected to cover it.
The place was Prague, but what precipitated the event had occurred in 1938 in Nazi Germany and had come to be called “Kristallnacht”, the night of broken glass when synagogues and other places associated with Jews were attacked and destroyed.
By the time it ended, Nazi stormtroopers had killed 91 Jews and 30,000 others had been rounded up and sent to concentration camps. It marked the beginning of what was to be known as “the final solution”, the deliberate murder of millions of European Jews that has since been called the Holocaust.
In Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, the word went out that several hundred neo-Nazis were preparing to march on the city’s Jewish quarter on the 69th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
They found themselves confronted by thousands of Czechs who filled the streets that Sabbath Saturday to show their solidarity with their nation’s Jews. Masses of non-Jews showed up wearing yellow Stars of David inscribed with the word “Jude”, the same symbol the Nazis had required Jews to wear.
There were some bloody street fights, but the 1,400 police who had been mobilized, along with the sheer numbers of the anti-Nazi protesters were sufficient to maintain the peace. It was the first time in recent memory that residents of a former Eastern bloc capital had taken to the streets to protest anti-Semitism.
Only about 1,500 Jews live in Prague, but an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 protesters were on hand for the day’s events that included prayer, musical performances, and presentations by Holocaust survivors that were projected on a large outdoor screen.
While there are probably less than 1,000 active neo-Nazis in the Czech Republic, there are others throughout Europe and anti-Semitism, though muted, remains a part of European culture.
Prague Mayor, Pavel Bern, addressed thousands during a ceremony sponsored by the Jewish Liberal Union. “We need to cultivate the national memory to avoid what happened in the past.” The Nazis murdered 80,000 of Czechoslovakia’s 120,000 Jews during World War II.
The Czechs remembered. They came together to protest the evil of anti-Semitism, but we all have to remember and we all have to protest whenever some group, any group, is singled out from the family of man for murder.
When the Iranian leaders say the Holocaust is a myth, the truth cries out from six million graves. We must not be silent. When they threaten tiny Israel with nuclear death, we must not be silent. We must say to ourselves, “Never again.”
We must all become Jews in the face of evil. Silence is the ally of those who would perpetrate such horrors.