For those of you who don't remember what "Kristallnacht" was let me explain. Back in 1938 the Germans, then under command of one Adolf Hitler, attacked and destroyed thousands of German businesses. To be accurate it must be said they attacked only Jewish German businesses and caused millions of damage for which the Jews were fined one billion Reich marks. Because of all the broken glass lying around it became known as "Kristallnacht or "the night of broken glass" and it still send shudders to Jews the world over. They know it was the turning point and the start of millions of Jews end on this earth.
Who caused this attack? Well that depends entirely whose books you read about it. Almost every school child will say "Hitler" and leave it at that. Others, on the fringe of the right wing in Europe, will say the propaganda minister, Dr Josef Goebbels did and that Hitler immediately issued orders for it to stop and stopped it did but the damage was done. This idea, of Hitler "saving Jews" don't go down well for obvious reasons and in the end, it was his movement who placed people like Goebbels in the offices where they could cause such attacks. So it entirely depends on what your views are but it is acknowledged that Hitler stopped the carnage when he was informed about it.
This Goebbels, you will no doubt remember, made a lot of children and each had a name started with an "H" to honour his master, Chancellor Adolf Hitler. You will also remember that Goebbels was the last Chancellor for about two days after Hitler committed suicide and that his wife, Magda, poisoned all the children in the Fuhrer Bunker. She then played cards as they were dying. Their bodies were prominently displayed by the Soviet Army. Goebbels and his wife walked to the grounds, from the below ground bunker, to avoid their bodies to be carried (as was Hitler's and his new wife Eva Braun-Hitler) before they were shot dead and then set alight. There are pictures of that also available as the bodies were not really buried and soon found. Another thing Goebbels is remembered for is his "Iron Curtain" speech long before Winston Churchill copied it and became even more famous much to the chagrin of those who know the truth. That is by the way, who cares?
What is not remembered today for political reasons no doubt is that the British Jews, stating flatly that they are talking on behalf of all Jews, declared war on Nazi Germany in 1933 when Hitler took over, legally, he was elected by the German people. If you don't believe me, go and do some research and find out for yourself. It was headline news in most newspapers. The declaration certainly did not help their plight and I am not sure what they thought what would happen. A man like Hitler, no coward whatever else he was, would not turn his cheek though the death camps only officially started years later during the war years. Before I am overwhelmed with complaints, note that my father was Jewish as his mom was Jewish. In the strict Jewish Orthodox outlook, that makes me Jewish though I grew up Christian and will never change and don't consider myself to be Jewish. And I know how it feels when a genuine Jew tells you "You are not one of us because your mother is not Jewish." I can tell you, you walk away and turn your back on such people and stop reaching out. If he had more brains he would have said "Let me explain to you what we stand for, we are menschen." So a man like me would have suffered in Nazi Germany.
Ironically, the Jewish State, Israel, and Apartheid South Africa was fairly close to each other. There is no doubt that they shared nuclear weapons technology and others, like the South African derived Mirage Cheetah fighter jet which looked very much like an Israeli Kfir. When the new lot came into being with Mr Mandela the relationship rapidly cooled down and today it does not take much for South Africa to state that Israel is an "Apartheids State" which is a considerable insult in any liberal language.
But you know what was the most shocking about Kristallnacht for me? Nobody wanted the Jews. When they tried to flee they got stopped and life made as difficult as possible for them to cross borders and that was in all countries. When they tried to get to Palestine in the hope of a new beginning the British Government feared, there is no other word unless you think it was anti-Semitic, the Arab reaction. So the Royal Navy intercepted and captured the ships carrying desperate refugees. Many ended in Cyprus and other places living in squalor. Their only crime was that they were Jews. Besides that they did nothing wrong. Others made it to America where everyone wanted to be and immediately changed their names. Even today half of Hollywood has two names, their American ones and their Jewish ones. Why is that? How much fear must you have if you cannot and will not even try to make your way in life under your own name? It is either that or dishonesty to deceive people and then again, why? What do they fear or is it perhaps that they have reason to fear?
Why am I mentioning all this today as I look at the frost outside as winter started last night in this part of the world. It was below freezing. Simply because I always pray for those who is not under a thick sleeping bag in shelter when it is so cold and I think of the latest shame to hit South Africa, xenophobia. There are currently another Kristallnacht ongoing here. Foreigners (not Jews, mostly) who came here looking for a better life is being chased, burned, robbed, murdered and raped no doubt. They are attacked because they are foreigners and their businesses burned down and looted. It reminds me of something, ah yes, Kristallnacht and I wonder who is next. The white man, another tribe?
It is Adolf Hitler's birthday in a few days on 20 April. I remember because I have such a brain, I remember dates for no logical reason. Will our so called leaders stop this madness as Hitler did in 1938? Or do you think they will wring their hands and say how horrible it is but you know sht happens. I also know that everyone will now shout for the "Army" to get involved and in most countries that is a good idea. When the Police lose control the Army has to assist under Police command. However I am tempted to warn you here also. The Army is not trained for riot control and can only kill unlike the Police who are issued with mostly non-lethal weapons.
It is one of the statements I made in my Mean Streets Books which attracted a lot of foreign inquiries from professional liars (journalists to you). I said that through the years, if you look at the issued equipment, the feared South African Police Force Riot Units looked completely different from their cousins, the Counter Insurgency Units who killed 90% of all terrorists. Think about it, the Riot Unit had water cannon, shotguns with birdshot, Stopper rubber bullets and two R1 (FN SLR in the UK) rifles with them. And those R1's almost never fired and hence issued to the drivers or sergeant in charge. So they could not kill as much as say the Counter Insurgency lads who had only R1's and a MAG light machine gun with hand grenades and mortars and at times, heavy machine guns on their Casspirs and ground attack air support. Now I ask you, what weapons do the Army lads have? And you want them to kill everyone in sight? Is that your solution? Really?
The answer is better border controls to keep unwanted and foreigners away from us. We don't like people who are not like us; it is a tribal thing in Africa and no matter what you try to deny it, the fact remains that we look at others askew. And then when you add the undoubted criminal element, why else the looting, you bring this shame on us. This is not right, it is not what we stand for. What is next? Will we find Indian Navy warships next to our coasts to evacuate their citizens? I assure you, you will find the Israeli Navy if Jews are slaughtered as these people are. I believe the turning point was reached. I ask again, who is next?
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in hostage survival training and reducing legal risk in Sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters. Koos is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.