Today is the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass. It was a major pogrom aimed at the Jewish population that remained in Nazi Germany and Austria in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat, Ernst von Rath, by a Polish Jew. During this act of terrorism, more than 7,500 Jewish-owned storefronts were destroyed, countless Jewish homes vandalized, 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps such as Dachau and at least 200 synagogues were burned to the ground. One of these was the Old Synagogue in Freiburg, Germany. After World War II, Jewish residents of Freiburg who had survived the camps, returned to their former home town. They came to an agreement with the city council – the Jewish population would allow the city the rights to the Old Synagogue site providing the remains be treated with dignity and a memorial be erected reflecting the devastation of 1938. The council agreed and a square dedicated to the Old Synagogue was established complete with a bronze marker. This lasted until 2016 when the city council created a wading pool on the footprint of the destroyed Shul! The bronze memorial? It is now under water and can barely be read. The people of Freiburg seem all too unaware of the historical importance of this site. They simply frolic and bathe in the chlorinated, recycled water of the pool. Why haven’t the powers that be in Berlin have a meeting of the minds with the Freiburg city council? The people of Berlin do not take lightly the mistreatment of their Holocaust memorial. Why should another town be so lackadaisical?


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