Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reichskristallnacht: A Response to Ingrid Weckert

Kristallnacht was a nationwide, state-sponsored pogrom (a spree of violence directed against Jews) conducted throughout Germany and Austria (which had been annexed by Germany in March 1938) from the evening and night of November 9 through the following afternoon. It was presented by the Nazi regime as a spontaneous public outburst provoked by the assassination of a minor German diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, by a seventeen-year-old Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan. The pogrom's name comes from the German word for beveled plate glass (Kristallglas) and refers to the broken shop windows of the Jewish stores, hence Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass.

A standard argument by Holocaust deniers is that, while they do not believe that there was an organized plot by Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jews of Europe, that gas chambers were used to this end (among other methods), or that the number of fatalities was nearly six million (and perhaps more), they "[do] not deny the tragedy that the Jews suffered in World War II" (Kulaszka). However, as time has gone on, this gambit has been dropped, so much so that there are self-styled "revisionists" unwilling to admit that any innocent Jew died at the hands of the Nazis. Falling into this camp of Holocaust deniers are such apologists as Friedrich Paul Berg, Carlos Whitlock Porter, and the godfather of American Holocaust denial, Willis Carto.

The article by Andre E. Mathis, Andrew Mathis, Reichskristallnacht: A Response to Ingrid Weckert, addresses denier inaccuracies and disinformation related to Kristallnacht.