Brazilian politician with Jewish roots compares police investigation raids to Kristallnacht


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Brazil’s education minister drew criticism for likening police raids targeting allies of the country’s president to Kristallnacht.

“Today was the day of infamy, national shame, and it will be remembered as the Brazilian Night of the Broken Glass,” tweeted Abraham Weintraub, whose Jewish paternal grandparents fled the Nazis.

“They desecrated our homes and are suffocating us. Do you know what the great oligarch/socialist press will say? SIEG HEIL!”, continued the minister in his Wednesday tweet, adding a picture that shows the boycott to Jewish stores in Germany in 1933.

Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, refers to the 1938 Nazi pogrom that most mark as the beginning of the Holocaust.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s federal police held search and seizure warrants against several allies of President Jair Bolsonaro as part of an investigation about threats to Supreme Court’s ministers and the spread of fake news.

On Thursday, Weintraub wrote a second tweet about the raid, attaching the famous photograph of a Jewish child raising his hands in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943.

Weintraub was born to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father whose family members were killed in concentration camps. He is usually mistaken as Jewish due to his name, but he does not identify as such.

Jewish groups criticized his comments.

“The comparison is totally unreasonable and inopportune, unacceptably minimizing those terrible events, the beginning of the Nazi march that culminated in the death of 6 million Jews, in addition to other minorities,” said Fernando Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation.

“Enough is enough! The repeated political weaponization of Holocaust language by Brazilian government officials is profoundly offensive to world Jewry and an insult to the victims and survivors of the Nazi terror. It needs to stop immediately,” tweeted the American Jewish Committee.

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