In 1938, thousands of Germans and Austrians, inspired by virulent anti-Semitism and emboldened by soldiers and police who stood idly by, rioted against peaceful Jewish citizens and their property.
Nazi supporters killed thousands of Jews, destroyed synagogues and ransacked properties and businesses.
This pogrom became known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), a name reflecting the broken glass of Jewish windows.
To this day, utterance of the word “Kristallnacht” brings shudders to Jews throughout the world who retain a DNA-level fear that history could repeat itself.
Perhaps this is why I am so disappointed and saddened by the recent anti-Semitic vandalism and graffiti targeted at a largely Jewish fraternity on the 75th anniversary — to the day — of Kristallnacht.
Although I have no idea whether the perpetrators had the Kristallnacht anniversary in mind, they no doubt sought to capitalize on the emotion evoked by the long history of hate and violence aimed at Jews.
Andrew Shubin, State College