CFN – Remembrance Day has a lot of meaning for millions around the world. 2013 marks the 75th Anniversary of The Night of Broken Glass or Kristallnacht as it’s known.
At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Martin Gilbert writes that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world.
(Jews forced to march during Kristallnacht)
The Times wrote at the time:
“No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.“
In these days of video games and rampant violence on television people lose sight of the reality of something like this happening. Imagine sitting in your home and the doors being ripped down and your home ransacked and family hurt or killed; taken away with you not sure if they were coming back?
Going to work and seeing it destroyed? Being told that because of your religion or colour of your skin, or language that you speak that you can’t work in your field no matter how much expertise or experience you have; even if it means a community suffers by your absence? This was the insanity of Nazi Germany during the years prior and during World War 2.
There are so few survivors left and after all do young people really listen to older people any more now than they did 75 years ago?
What people don’t realize is that because of little things turning to huge things is why so many wear a poppy and so many sacrificed their lives in war after war.
Here in the city I am writing from, Cornwall Ontario, we are now in the midst of a scandal related to Swastikas in a local high school. It’s not that a bit of graffiti is the issue. It happens; but it’s been the reactions from the school principal not taking prompt action; to the head of the Upper Canada District School Board threatening this writer; to the Premier of Ontario’s office refusing to issue a statement directly related to this incident on a day that she issued a press release about remembering victims of the Holocaust.
What we know about our incident here in Cornwall Ontario is that a person whose family were survivors of the Holocaust, while attending the school for an activity at night noticed Swastikas in the school bathrooms. A call was made to CCVS Principal Patricia Brown, and then another one the following week, followed by a visit the week after. Each time the victim said the principal said the images would be taken care of. After the fourth week CFN was called for assistance.
We went to the school the following morning and as we entered were met by a Vice Principal who grabbed two maintenance staff and escorted us to the washroom where the Swastikas were both still in place. After a chat in the VP’s office which included both staff stating that they had never been asked to remove the graffiti I returned to my office and tried to contact the Principal (who was not in at the early morning we visited) and then the head of the school board who did not return my call until the following Monday when my story was released. The VP called back a few hours later relating that the Swastikas were gone thus further indicting Principal Brown.
David K Thomas, Director of Education was hostile from the start of the call questioning my ethics and agenda. He then went on to threaten to report me to journalistic agencies and then finally to bring in the lawyers. After I explained to him that besides being a journalist I created what became the 2003 Oscar Nominated Holocaust Feature Documentary (we lost to Michael Moore) Prisoner of Paradise and that perhaps he should do some fact checking he did simmer down.
He stated that he had not talked to Principal Brown as of yet (Monday) (the event happened on a Friday) Yet the principal was at the School Monday, and Tuesday. She clearly had not been suspended nor fired.
After further speaking with Superintendent Valerie Allen who refused to supply a printed statement from the School board I was informed there would be a day of action with a holocaust survivor speaking to the students and faculty. Why I asked? The school was very clean and certainly not filled with Graffiti. The only issue was Principal Brown’s judgement and then Mr. Thomas’s behavior.
That led to conversations with Trustee David MacDonald who while totally getting it; still stood by the company line of seeming to protecting the principal instead of the students who were exposed to a hate symbol for nearly one month in multiple locations. As a matter of fact it was confirmed that after our story there was a rash of Swastikas put up around the school and nobody had been apprehended in spite of close circuit cameras at the school.
The UCDSB finally issued a statement in print, but it completely ignored Principal Brown.
I asked Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for a statement on this incident via her office including a link to our original story which was picked up in print and online via The Jewish Tribune.
Lauren Ramey from the Ministry of Education sent along the following:
Zita passed along your media request to our office. I can tell you that, while we can’t speak to the specifics of this incident, the government has engaged schools, students, parents and the communities to improve school climate. Our Safe Schools Strategy requires every school board employee, including principals, to play a role in promoting positive student behaviour to improve school climate.
We expect our education leaders to work with students and parents on any concerns they may have. School safety has been a priority for this government from the beginning, and that’s why all school boards must have policies and procedures on bullying prevention, antiracism and equity. It’s incumbent on each and every one of us to make sure that every student to feels safe, included and welcome in Ontario’s schools.
Let me know if you need anything further.
Well I sent Lauren & Zita Astravas back two emails, both clearly requesting a comment about this specific incident dated nearly two weeks apart and have not had back a single word.
I mean if the washroom had had the term “DYKE” plastered on the wall and a gay adult had called the principal would there have been faster action?
There is no justifiable reason for the swastikas being on school walls for nearly a month after three notifications; none.
Our Premier has specifically commented on issues such as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, so why not a principal in this day and age not removing a hate symbol?
And embarrassingly not one of the large media chains in Cornwall Ontario, the Sun, Corus, or Cogeco, or Trans Con covered this story even though none of the facts have been disputed.
The Cornwall Police Service today confirmed that the school board has not contacted them about a single Swastika issue in 2013 and that they have read our coverage and is the only reason they are aware of what’s happened.
And that is how hate grows and starts; when good people stand down. If the school board had taken swift clear action; even if simply having an apology from the Principal and maybe a short term off and some educational and sensitivity training it would have sent a message to the school students and family that racism and hate are not tolerated.
And for the Ministry of Education and the Premier’s office to take no action that sanctions all of the incident right down to whomever defaced the school in the first place, and second and subsequent times is again tacitly ignoring an issue that surely can only lead to hate being more acceptable.
Canada has a bad enough track record when it comes to the Holocaust as escapees were turned away from landing in Canada. Those few who were able to escape (The Nazi’s refused Jews to leave Europe at a certain point) were forced to find other sanctuary during the war.
Cornwall itself has a murky history as most Jewish families have left. From having its first official Mayor, Aaron Horowitz and a vibrant commercial marketplace on Pitt Street with many Jewish businesses and factories that employed thousands to a few stores and services today. The home of Nathan Phillips, great Toronto Mayor, directly across the street of the school, is now a health centre. The former synagogue is now a private home that was celebrated on a Christmas tour a few years ago.
And of course it’s not just local here in Cornwall. Intolerance and ignorance in this day of smart phones and social media is rampant.
The daughter of the late veteran John Gervais describes how after a life of sacrifice her father and family were told in a hospital in Gatineau Quebec (Directly across from Ottawa) to speak French instead of English. Her father passed away not long after the incident. Surely when we stand down in silence to these types of actions we all suffer.
Hate doesn’t start off with violence. Hate starts off with Indifference. And eventually leads to sad days in the rain saluting brave soldiers who died because we didn’t stop mole hills from becoming grave markers in foreign lands or at home.
For those who have lost and sacrificed we salute you; but if we really care about our soldiers and for them to never have to be mourned prematurely we need to stop hate in its tracks; early and often.
And we need to take care of our brave soldiers after they have given their bones and body in our names;especially our wounded who have lives that should be lived out in honour and security after the sacrifices that they and their families have made.
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Hailey if you was your child murdered in front of your eyes how long would be enough for you? There are monsters that deserve to be hunted until they are caught. There are petty monsters we ignore. For anyone to even suggest the question you do baffles me.
Justice does not know time.
Hailey the army general that I was looking for who exposed the overthrow of Roosevelt was Major General Smedley Butler. Go on youtube.com and type in the following:
The Fascist Plot to Overthrow FDR (Full Length)
There are others there for you to look at as well. If you think that this cannot happen here think again.
At the back on the wall in congress you will see two brown or black colored sticks known as fasci and I used to see that on the old ten cents of the US.
Prescott Bush was one of the head money laundering banks in NYC along with a German bankster Fritz Thiessen to help Hitler come to power as well as Ford, GM, General Electric and many others. Everything is documented. Do your research.
The act of forgiveness does not include self induced amnesia. We move on and we remember to honor those who fell so that we could continue. To never take freedom for granted is to remember the price that was paid for us to have the freedom that we enjoy. Fortunately, very few believe that burying your head in the sand is of benefit.
How long is long enough Hailey? Does the amount of time coincide with the amount of guilt the offending party feels? Is it determined by the amount of physical pain inflicted, or how long the victims live after the fact? How long do your neighbours get to “cry wolf” before you have had enough? And tell me Hailey, why are you the time barometer? Why do you determine how long is long enough and who or who not doesn’t deserve respect? What have you done to make sure none of this proud history you want to forget won’t ever be repeated?
Can we get somewhat philosophical on this topic?
In the English language, and I assume in many other languages we, have what is called a descriptive and a prescriptive rule.
A descriptive rule would explain how a situation was carried out and often with an explanation or evidence to support the, word, idea or belief.
A prescriptive rule defines how we should use or view the word, idea or belief and all too often based on the writers or rule makers concept and understanding.
What I read in both the story and the comments made by many are all prescriptive. It is based on a long history of people who hang on to the situation and will not let it pass. Now we begin to link it to many other situations and occurrences that happen today. Is it a good thing to do? we will only find out in years to come
Most people would simply shake off the action as vandalism and lack of respect for another’s or public property. Therefore we are told how we should address this situation not necessarily all the facts about what happened. Is it prudent to sensationalize a situation such as this or could we simply call it fueling a fire that some do not want to burn out.
If the school is public domain and whoever painted the walls believes the emblem is a work of art can we call it vandalism?
If they are expressing a belief that things are not what they seem is it not their right to do so
Hope this isn’t over the top admin
Art and freedom of expression are a matter of community standards. Fortunately many country’s in the world have decided that certain forms of expression are considered hate based crimes. The use of the swastika is one of those unacceptable forms of expression. The school board has a zero tolerance policy for religious intolerance and hate based forms of expression. The school board did not follow their own policy. It’s that simple.
Trying to rationalize not reacting to swastika graffiti may be considered a form of Holocaust denial. Do you not respect the millions of people who died during WWII because of the Nazi reign of terror? The swastika is accepted as the one symbol that represents that terror. It should be recognized by adults and children alike as a symbol of horror and atrocities and not as a mere whim of freedom of expression.
Your monster situation is so true they should be eliminated at the very least. Carrying the hatred means they are still in control victory is theirs. That being said if anyone messes around with my children. The rabbit hole goes very deep and only for the ones that committed the crime, I would not use my situation to bring my opinions and hatred upon others.
Yes justice does know time, what doesn’t know time is emotion and what is referred to as, and for simplicity of the explanation, the seven deadly sins. Time itself was created by man as was the bible faith and politics and justice, all created and used to control people. These are the very creations of man which make situations like this possible.
If you look a little deeper into American politics and who controls the country historically you may find the names Morgan, Rockerfeller and Rothschild of interesting reading. This predates what you have posted. Ask yourself one question, where did any country at that time find the revenue to fund a war? Who funds it now and how is the revenue repaid?
So true self- induced amnesia is not the way and neither is refusal to think for your self.
Thank You for your questions. I have done nothing to prevent it, well that is unless simply state the very thing you expect, tolerance and quit hating. You expect it but refuse to offer it. This very hatred and perspective is EXACTLY what will bring about the next war. This hatred and negativity is what people are fed up with and all that is needed is a person with a different approach promising a better way Open your mind and see how blinded by this hatred we have all become. What was the prelude to the last war? Economic Depression, and nothing to believe and no leadership…what do you think Stella is it near happening again and what contributed?
Who are you all going to hunt after all the people believed associated are gone?
How will you live with yourselves if later we find the facts are askew?
Or does your tolerance have limitations?
Who are you now to govern anothers limitations?
Hailey maybe you’re the one that should wonder about your own hatred. Just because some people want monsters brought to justice, even 70 years later doesn’t mean they are full of hate or even hate at all.
If you had someone that willfully or even gleefully embraced murdering hundreds if not thousands of people why on earth would you want to show them sympathy simply because they lived to a ripe old age that their victims could not?
It’s not about being Jewish. It’s about Crime and Punishment. What’s scary is that I think you get that and yet still are typing the words you are….
Hailey there is something that one should never forget and that is that no country should ever let its guard down for one minute and for a people not to think that it can’t happen here what happened in Germany and Europe in general and Hitler was so mighty powerful that he could have controlled the entire world. What happened to the Jewish people and some others could happen to any of us even till today in our 21st century. Nobody is immune to the insanity that goes on in the world. What affects one part of the world affects us all. Never ever think that it can’t happen here because it sure can. The US almost lost everything back in the 30’s era under the reign of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when the Bush family along with others tried to overthrow the US government and make it Nazi. It was by the grace of that major general who spilled the beans on what was going on because otherwise we would all be under Hitler or some other monster today. We do not know what the future brings and we must always be on our guard.
The school board as well as the principal at CCVS is very responsible for what goes on in their schools in Cornwall.
I will tell you all of one incident that happened back in the late 1960’s era at CCVS. We were all called to go to the gym and when we got there it was that Baptist group from the US who was there to preach or something – that was a mighty long time ago. These people belonged to the Billy Graham society. To make a long story short the man at the microphone said that Canada was a Christian country. Well I can see it right now the way the reaction was in the gym and what went on. The Jewish students all got up and marched their way out of the gym and that was an insult. That was the only incident that I knew about that was insulting to the core.
I have never seen or heard of anything like that before in Cornwall and that is the entire truth. I was well raised by my parents and always liked and respected the Jewish people. I had a lot of admiration for their success after all the living hell that these people went through and always hoped that we would never see or hear such a horrible thing ever again. The thing is that there are monsters like that in this world of ours and that we can never let our goals down and always be prepared for everything.
I put full blame on the school board and the principal at CCVS for doing nothing. Doing nothing is not going to make a problem to go away. This doesn’t just mean for Jewish people alone but for all people no matter who they are – you have to deal with it before things get out of hand. We don’t know what people hear at home or elsewhere but those hateful things have no other choice but to be dealt with or it will turn into something mighty serious like what is happening in the Middle East as we speak and don’t think that it can’t because it sure can and lead to much worse.
I harbor no resentment for anyone or anything except poverty, pain and pestilence. The later as it applies to weakness of the individual and hiding behind it as well as infecting others in the name of apathy.
My only concern here is the lack of understanding by most people. As soon as anyone sees the infamous emblem automatically it relates to that era in history. Why? because people like yourself make it happen. You promote it as being negative and pertaining to the demise of many Jews. Tell a kid it’s bad or dangerous and what happens.
The emblem or a similar style in fact has a history in most countries as a symbol of good luck…I bet Jules can confirm this as they made not of the history of the emblem. Even aboriginals used it as a school emblem in central US for a time
Did you ever see any indication that the sign in the school was promoting anti-Semitism or was the idea merely understood or implied because of the past?
Yep the Germans hoisted he emblem as we hoist the Maple Leaf, Do you think that if Canada became the axis of evil nobody would like the Maple Leaf? Should we denounce the flag of Afghanistan or Iran and Iraq, though be it each new ruler floats their own rendition of it?
Thank you Jules for confirming what I have been saying, but who was insulted the Jewish students or the Christians? Didn’t they come here because it was a better place to live and weren’t we a Christian country before. Then we speak of tolerance did they show any??
One thing to note my conversation was intended to make people consider something different not attack the Jewish people, I mean why would I….I do use pestilence here again because it was the Catholics and Christians and all the white anlgo do gooders that bring this to the light it is in, just leave people alone .
Let it go or else they are still victorious holding you in place controlling you and becoming so lost in it the next coming of evil will be unstoppable.
Do not let multi- media fool you into a false sense of security!
Holy Jumpin’ Haily! For the last seventy some years the swastika has only represented one thing. How difficult is that to understand? The holocaust is still a pretty recent historical event. Maybe in your little mind, people should just consider it to just be a symbol like the Fleur de Lis or something like that, but in the eyes of the world it isn’t, and it won’t be for years to come. It represents one of the most horrible periods of history in modern times. Got that?
Thank You furtz re-enforcing my point…..The very fact we still harbor what happened 75 years ago proves we can only harbor resentment and it only seems to be encouraged by one people and supported by people hoping to ride the wave to a political sanctuary..
I would think irradiating a country with not one but two atomic blasts would have more residual effects yet nobody ever mentions that.
How many troops were lost on the premise of WMD as well as civilians, of which I might add WMD, did not exist or could not be proven, how many people are dying in Afghanistan and can anyone say why???
Nobody is arguing that it didn’t happen but let the past die most involved have and many are fed up with it. Take more notice of today and what is happening now.
@ Hailey. We sort of agree on a couple of things. The nuking of Japan should never be forgotten, or repeated.
And the fact that Bush, Cheney, Blaire, and all those responsible for the destruction of Iraq have not been tried at The World Court for crimes against humanity is a crime in itself.
Thank You Furtz!!!
We have to really understand more than the history that we are told to believe. The number 6 million applies to how many are missing. It never defines if that means displaced, relocated or anything else. Some left and want absolutely nothing to do with Europe anymore, or found a better way else where. People automatically relate it to the camps.
A close friend’s father was in the war on the German side, he didn’t want to but there was no choice. He said one evening at dinner, that if there was anything he could go back to during the war it would be his capture. He was in a trench and captured by a British soldier and taken to a camp. He would like to thank the soldier for getting him out of the war and treating him with dignity under the circumstances. He also relocated his family to Canada for the very same reason and has cut ties to Europe….he wanted better for his family.
How many other peoples have been displaced as a result of war?
Just ask stella or anyone in north America sympathetic to the natives. There were no cameras and no concept of turning travesty into revenue at that time.
Crysaltnacht was not solely a result of religion but of also of the businesses holding credit over farmers and families during the depression. Not the best way to deal with it but it’s all these underlying facts that are askew or not spoken about. The same thing happened to farmers and businesses here from all walks of life, business owners’, banks, the wealthier would loan credit of one sort or another, if you couldn’t pay you lost all your possessions.
We still allow banks to do the same thing today, which shows that we really did not learn anything from the past. The wealthy still get wealthier and the poor get poorer there is no middle class nor was there during the depression which was a prelude to war.
In my opinion these are the facts that we should be addressing and trying to prevent from happening again not who was hurt the most…everyone was affected. Magnitude is an ally of revenue
@Hailey Brown ….it is not about harbouring resentment it is about acknowledging the truth concerning man’s inhumanity towards others and in doing so striving to ensure that history stands a better chance of not repeating itself. You have opinions but you seem to lack knowledge on this topic which render them rather without merit.
Rather an unnecessary statement but I respect your opinion. If I may use your earlier comment addressed to me and turn it upon yourself. I think you are a little thick.
I believe if you read through my posts there is no place I insulted anyone until now.
Who are you to comment on my knowledge and experience and quality of my information?
Tell me how many were killed or displaced in the Spanish inquisition.
How many Asians were annihilated or displaced as a result of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
What about Koreans and Vietnamese how many during the so called police movement were killed, raped, beaten, burned at the hands of their saviors? How many lay in fields with no marker…it lasted from 1956 until 1975…would it be safe to assume 6 million at the least. How come I never see the outtakes from that war as often as I do with the Second World War?
It was 11 years after WWII…WWII lasted 7 years the Korean conflict and associated battles lasted 19 years…
How many people die in the streets in North America every day??
Most of these atrocities make occurances at places such as Auschwitz pale by comparison, they had better publicity is all that keeps it going.
David we all know what happened and our continual lust to keep it driven in people’s faces with, as you put it,” lack of knowledge” is destined to make history repeat.
It is beginning already and the real scary thing is it is going to happen here and people like you can’t see the forest for the trees
@HAILEY……With regards to my commenting on the quality of your information Hailey, I generally have only commented on opinions that you have shared here. As to your knowledge and experience, your knowledge is evident in your writings and your general attitude speaks to your experience in conjunction with the former. While I may not agree with your opinion I do support your right to have one.
Mankind, Hailey, has a rather lengthy history of atrocities. However, I could not disagree with you more regarding your apparent understanding of the atrocities which occurred not only at Auschwitz but all the other death camps as well. Few events in history stand as vividly as the horrors of the Nazis. This event was deliberately conceived, planned in great detail and executed with great precision and purpose.
The Rwandan genocide in 1994 was indeed horrific. 500,000 to 1,000,000 were slaughtered brutally over a 100 day period. Two public holidays mark the event and a week of mourning.
It most certainly is not a lust to keep it driven in people’s faces Hailey, and your statement that “we all know what happened” is indeed correct, primarily due to Remembrance Day Services around the globe. Perhaps we have it right, perhaps remembering why we are free today is the deterrent that will keep us from risking it tomorrow. Time will tell Hailey.
Again david I find fault in what you say,
Perhaps we have it right, perhaps remembering why we are free today is the deterrent that will keep us from risking it tomorrow. Time will tell Hailey.
Does not qualify your premises
It most certainly is not a lust to keep it driven in people’s faces Hailey, and your statement that “we all know what happened” is indeed correct, primarily due to Remembrance Day Services around the globe
The Rwandan genocide in 1994 was indeed horrific. 500,000 to 1,000,000 were slaughtered brutally over a 100 day period. Two public holidays mark the event and a week of mourning.
It still happens even with remembering
If you do believe we are free…try not paying taxes….