The night the Holocaust began. Almost seventy years ago tonight, the Biblical interrogative was put to the German nation, "Am I my brothers keeper?'', and the German people responded with a resounding "NO!", and launched a wave of anti-Semitic barbarity not seen in Europe since the late Middle Ages.
In response to the shooting death of a minor German Embassy official by a disaffected young Jew in Paris, thousands of plainclothed Nazi stormtroopers, displaying the ''righteous and spontaneous anger of the German people'' crowed the club-footed Propaganda Minister Joesph Goebbels, went on a rampage of violence all across Germany, destroying Jewish homes and businesses and putting synagogues to the torch. Hundreds of people were injured, ninty-one lost their lives, and thousands more were carted off to concentration camps.
Among the many victims of that "Night of Broken Glass'' was a Jewish Berlin schoolgirl's father, taken from his home and family; he was never seen again. That young girl would grow up to become Dr. Ruth L. Westheimer. Little wonder someone so traumatized by ethnic and religious hatred and war would make it their vocation to help others find love and happiness and create new life.
The events that unfolded on that long-ago November night would, in time, lead to the most destructive war in human history. A war, in which author and historian William L. Shier noted, "which few would escape its consequences and millions more would not survive them''. To their credit, the German people have done much to atone for the crimes of that era--but evil slumbers and keeps one eye open, always waiting for its moment to strike. And, as history has shown, all it takes for evil to prosper is for ''good men to do nothing''.
Today, humanity is threatened by a new evil--Islamofascism--a fellow traveler and ideological soul-mate to Nazism--and, with few exceptions, the world has either been indifferent to it or denies it outright. I pray humanity will show the same resolve in defeating it that it did in defeating Nazism.
It will always be incumbent on all of us to be our brothers keeper and, in doing so, we must NEVER FORGET the millions of every race and creed who perished in the horror, and we must always REMEMBER and HONOR the sacrifice of millions more who gave so much--and who fought so heroically--to put an end to it.