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On the Eve of Kristallnacht, Berlin’s Mayors Express Remorse

Marking the 52nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the mayor and deputy mayor of Berlin have issued a statement expressing remorse over “the beginning of the darkest chapter in Germany’s history.”

The statement was released Thursday, the eve of the Nov. 9 observance of the night when Nazis organized the first nationwide pogrom against the Jews. On that night in 1938, scores of Jews were killed and hundreds of synagogues and Jewish businesses were set afire.

Walter Momper, mayor of what was former West Berlin and now mayor of the whole city, and Tino Schwierzina, former East Berlin mayor and now deputy mayor of united Berlin, warned against attempts to forget or disregard the anniversary, which coincides with the opening last year of the Berlin Wall.

This year, German media have dedicated hundreds of articles and special television and radio reports to the demise of the wall, but almost none to the pogroms of 52 years ago.

The chairman of the Jewish community Germany, Heinz Galinski, said Wednesday that Germans had failed all along to commemorate Nov. 9 as a day of infamy.

During a public meeting at the Jewish community center in Berlin, Galinski complained that the Germans all but refused to properly commemorate the day that marked the symbolic beginning of the Holocaust.

The Germans have been particularly strong in looking the other way, said Gerhard Schonberner, director of the Wannsee Villa memorial the building on the outskirts of Berlin where the “Final Solution” to liquidate the Jews was decided on Jan.20, 1942.

Schonberner recalled how inhabitants of his hometown failed to react when Jews were led to concentration camps or and property was destroyed

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