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New Left Review 84, November-December 2013

gabriel piterberg


For many years now 9 November, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, has been marked in Germany by public assemblies that have served not only to affirm historical condemnation of the Nazis’ murderous policies, but also as an implacable rejection of contemporary forms of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. The targets of racist violence today are most likely to be Muslims or asylum seekers; and—though the structuring social determinants are entirely different from those of the 1930s—the assaults are not negligible. The arson attacks on immigrant hostels in Hoyerswerda and Rostock in the early 90s were cheered on by chanting crowds. Nor are these restricted to the eastern Länder: mosques in the Rhineland were targeted last summer as the trial began of a far-right cell member implicated in the serial killing of Turkish workers. Altogether there were thirty attacks on mosques in Germany last year, nine of them involving arson. The Kristallnacht anniversary marches have served both to commemorate those targeted by the Nazis and to demonstrate solidarity with those exposed to racist aggression today.

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Gabriel Piterberg, ‘Euro-Zionism and its Discontents’, NLR 84: £3

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