Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Commemoration of Kristallnacht

"Honourable senators, last week we commemorated the sixty-ninth anniversary of Kristallnacht, which occurred on November 10, 1938. Kristallnacht, literally the ‘night of glass,’ commemorates that night sixty-nine years ago when organized groups of Nazis and other hooligans systematically attacked Jews, their synagogues and other institutions throughout Germany – an evening best symbolized in the memory of those who are able to remember by the picture of the Great Synagogue of Berlin in flames and enveloped in smoke.

November 10, 1938, marked the more formal beginning of the brief and painful march to the Shoah – the systematic annihilation of 6 million Jews, as well as others – Roma, homosexuals and dissidents – who were ruthlessly and systematically murdered and burned so that they might eternally disappear, by that metaphor for base human evil, Nazi Germany.

Glass and windows were not the only things shattered on that night. The soul of humanity was equally shattered commencing that night and continuing for some years because the world stood and watched the systematic debasement of the human soul and was deaf to the cries for help by those hapless victims.

After the war – but only after the war – the world adopted a motto to salve its conscience. It said, ‘Never again.’ However, the world only said it and did not mean it. We watched in literal silence as the genocide in Rwanda unfolded. We do nothing and we do not even know about the multiple genocides that are taking place right now predominantly, but not exclusively, in Africa.

Honourable senators, all human rights abuses and all systematic exterminations are the embodiment of evil. Their nature is always the same and always abhorrent. Only the numbers differ and the numbers are so high that we cannot imagine them. The human mind can only comprehend tragedy in single digit numbers and cannot comprehend tragedy when it afflicts dozens, hundreds, thousands and millions.

We are watching another horrible genocide unfold before our eyes in Darfur. Honourable Senator Dallaire has spoken in this chamber, with the eloquence and the baring of the soul which is his own. Others have also spoken in this chamber about Darfur. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Human Rights Abuse held its annual general assembly on October 30. At that meeting, an ambitious program was put forth to try to bring the Darfur tragedy more prominently to the attention of Canadians. Honourable senators will be receiving notices from time to time of events marking the ongoing nature of this tragedy."