Re: The term "Kristallnacht" - [history and political connotations] #germany

Joachim Mugdan

Moderator note: The rules discourage argument in JewishGen discussion
groups. The Moderator is allowing this discussion to continue as a friendly
educational exploration of the origins of a term that our community
has known and used for 79 years. Whether to use the term or not
should be a personal choice. Informed comment on the history of the
word may be approved for posting but further argument based on personal
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In GERSIG Digest for Sunday, November 12, 2017, Renate Rosenau wrote:
"..... the term "Kristallnacht" was a Nazi term meant to expose the Jews
to ridicule."

[There is reason to argue that] This is certainly not a fact.
The fairly new claim that "Kristallnacht" was a Nazi term has
never been substantiated.
(Note that "Kristallnacht" was used by anti-fascists for decades -
until "political correctness" came on the scene in the 1980s.)

Renate added: "the alternatives are: ... Novemberprogrom or
The problem with the word "pogrom" is that it suggests a spontaneous
outbreak of violence tolerated by the authorities. This is precisely how the
Nazis described the events of 9-10 Nov 1938 - as spontaneous "popular
indignation". The truth is, of course, that "Kristallnacht" was centrally
planned and organized by the Nazis. By using the word "pogrom", one doesn't
avoid their terminology but unwittingly accepts their version of history.

Joachim Mugdan (Professor of General Linguistics), Basel, Switzerland
JGFF Researcher 5749

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