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

Why Israel Pretends That Hamas Fired Rockets by Accident

March 21 2019

Israeli military and political officials have repeated Hamas’s dubious claim that the launching of two rockets at Tel Aviv last week was inadvertent. To Smadar Perry, accepting Hamas’s story rather than engaging in further retaliation is but a convenient, and perhaps necessary, way of aiding Egyptian efforts to broker a deal with the terrorist group. But even if these efforts succeed, the results will be mixed:

The [Israeli] security cabinet has met in Tel Aviv and decided that they would continue indirect negotiations with Gaza. A message was sent to Egypt, whose delegation is going back to Gaza to pass on the Israeli demands for calm. The Egyptians also have to deal with the demands from Hamas, which include, among other things, an increase in aid from $15 million to $30 million per month and an increase in the supply of electricity.

The requests are reasonable, but they do leave a sour taste in the mouth. Israel must ensure that this financial aid does not end up in the pockets of Hamas and its associates. [Israel] also knows that if it says “no” to everything, the Iranians will step in, with the help of their Gazan friends in Islamic Jihad. They are just waiting for the opportunity.

Hamas also must deal with the fallout from a series of massive handouts from Qatar. For when the citizens of the Gaza Strip saw that the money was going to the Hamas leadership, who were also enjoying a fine supply of electricity to their own houses, they took to the streets in protest—and this time it was not Israel that was the focus of their anger. . .

[But] here is the irony. With Egyptian help, Israel can reach understandings for calm with Gaza, despite the lack of a direct channel. . . . In the West Bank, where the purportedly friendlier Fatah is in charge, it is more complicated, at least until the eighty-three-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is replaced.

As evidence for that last statement, consider the murder of two Israelis in the West Bank on Sunday, and the Palestinians who threw explosives at Israeli soldiers at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem yesterday.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, West Bank