Giving Voice to the Voiceless Article on Kristallnacht

11/14/2016 Giving voice to the voiceless  article appeared in the “­ Sun Sentinel” newspaer

 

Giving voice to the voiceless By Rabbi Barry Silver f t We Jews are needed now more than ever to give voice to the voiceless and to defend a planet under siege NOVEMBER 8, 2016, 10:15 AM Kristallnacht proves the truth of Schopenhauer’s adage that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Hitler learned this lesson after seeing that no one was punished when Turkey murdered 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, in the first of many genocides of the 20th century. Hitler used Kristallnacht to test his theory that if you kill enough people, you can literally get away with murder. After looting, humiliating, beating, torturing, arresting and killing Jews in an orgy of violence across Germany, the world failed to react. As Elie Wiesel noted, “Silence always helps the perpetrator, never the victim,” and in the legal world silence means consent. Thus, for Hitler, the deafening silence that followed Kristallnacht was “golden,” and encouraged him to seek the annihilation of all the Jews of Europe in his demonic “Final Solution.” Rabbi Barry Silver (Courtesy) 11/14/2016 Giving voice to the voiceless ­ Sun Sentinel http://www.sun­sentinel.com/florida­jewish­journal/opinion/fl­jjps­silver­1109­20161108­story.html 2/3 As joyously proclaimed by Martin Sasse, a Lutheran bishop and leader of the German Christian movement, “On Nov. 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” Bishop Sasse urged Germans to heed the words “of the greatest anti­Semite of his time,” by adopting the proposals set forth by Martin Luther in his 1543 pamphlet, On the Jews and Their Lies. As punishment for the original blood libel and monstrous lie that the Jews killed Jesus, Luther suggested that “Christians should set fire to their synagogues or schools, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them… I advise that Jewish houses also be razed and destroyed. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies to bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but live in exile and captivity as they incessantly wail before God.” The Nazis implemented all of these barbaric measures as well as Luther’s suggestion that Jews be forced to identify themselves by wearing a distinctive Jewish star, and still no one protested against the original Protestant, Martin Luther. Although it is impossible for those who have not gone through such horror, to fully grasp the terror of Kristallnacht, our sages taught us to never forget, or in Hebrew “Zachor” (to remember), as if we were actually there. We remember in order to mourn those who perished, and not let them suffer a second death (in the words of Elie Wiesel) by forgetting their memory. We also remember to try to avoid repeating the sins of the past. Sadly, genocide has continued all too often even after Kristallnacht, because mankind has learned nothing from such tragedies. It is up to the Jews, to serve as the conscience of mankind, and speak out against intolerance, bigotry and hate. And now that we live in a free country, we should honor the memory of millions of Jews who have been murdered because of a lie, even if contained in someone else’s holy book, by refuting the nonsensical claim the Jews killed Jesus. This week we read of Noah, who the Torah describes as living among depraved people, but who alone “walked with God.” While many of us do not take the story of Noah literally, our people have refused to follow a multitude to do evil, and have sacrificed our lives to defend others. The fringed prayer shawl indicates that Jews have repeatedly placed ourselves on the fringe of society when necessary to prevent injustice. We Jews are needed now more than ever to give voice to the voiceless and to defend a planet under siege. The lesson of Kristallnacht, should make “crystal” clear our obligation as Jews to just say “Noah” when others are silent, and to honor the memory of those who perished in the holocaust by refuting the lies told about our people and all other victims of hatred. Silver is spiritual leader of Congregation L’Dor Va­Dor in Boynton Beach.

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