On the Anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Rare Story of Two Righteous Gentiles

When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Friedrich and Pauline Kellner, known to their neighbors as longtime opponents of the Nazis, left Mainz for the small town of Laubach, hoping to avoid trouble with the new government. Friedrich found work there as the manager of a courthouse, which also afforded him some small amount of protection. The Kellners’ grandson, Robert Scott Kellner, describes how they helped a Jewish family in the town:

As worried Jews sought to leave Germany, a Jewish woman in Laubach, Hulda Heynemann, approached Pauline for help. The police had brought false charges against her son-in-law, Julius Abt, to confiscate his property. Friedrich . . . and Pauline helped Abt get to the port in Hamburg to leave for America. The Heynemanns’ daughter, Lucie, expecting a child, remained behind until she gave birth. The Kellners helped mother and infant son get away as well. They tried to convince Lucie’s parents to leave with her, but the Heynemann family had been in Laubach for generations, and the old couple felt certain their neighbors would do them no harm. . . .

The Heynemanns made a mistake trusting their neighbors. On the moonlit night of November 9, 1938, during an orchestrated nationwide frenzy of religious and racial hatred [that came to be known as Kristallnacht], Friedrich and Pauline Kellner tried vainly to halt the mob seeking to attack the town’s Jews. The judge who presided over the court, Ludwig Schmitt, refused Friedrich’s request to bring the Jewish families into the courthouse for protection. . . .

Friedrich wanted to press charges against the leaders of the stormtroopers [who led the assault], bringing his and Pauline’s written testimony to Judge Schmitt. The judge angrily denounced him and said [that the leader of the local Nazi women’s group] had demanded an investigation into Pauline’s ancestry to see if she had Jews in her family—nothing else could explain why the wife of a justice official sent her son to America to avoid army service, did not cooperate with the women’s group, and helped Jews. “And we have questions about you, too,” the judge said ominously to Friedrich, telling him the matter was already in the hands of the state authorities in Darmstadt.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Kristallnacht, Righteous Among the Nations

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy