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‘Not in our city’ — San Antonio civic and faith leaders denounce antisemitism

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Courtesy: The Life in Art Photography
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Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales addresses an interfaith gathering at the San Antonio Jewish Community Center on November 10, 2021.

Religious and civic leaders gathered at San Antonio’s Jewish Community Center Tuesday evening to mark 83 years since the start of Kristallnacht.

Known as "the night of broken glass," Kristallnacht got its name from the glass shards left behind by Nazi driven racism and vandalism against Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues across Germany and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia on Nov. 9 and 10 in 1938.

Historians view Kristallnacht as the prelude to the genocide of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

“We gather together today in part to remember that one of the darkest periods of human history happened in the modern industrialized world,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It happened because indifference beget intolerance and ignorance beget hatred beget genocide. And despite the horrors of the Holocaust, the same roots of intolerance can and still do fester even today, even here.”

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Courtesy: The Life in Art Photography
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg addresses an interfaith gathering on November 9, 2021.

A neo-Nazi group recently traveled through the area, leaving antisemtic flyers on lawns in the Churchill Estates and Deerfield neighborhoods and demonstrating across the street from the Jewish Community Center as the Center held a Holocaust remembrance event. The group held up signs with explicit photographs mocking the Jewish religion and denying the Holocaust. They also used megaphones to intimidate drivers passing by.

Last week, a fire was set outside a synagogue in Austin.

These were just some of the antisemtic events that were widely condemned in recent days.

Related: San Antonio councilwoman condemns antisemitic sign at auto shop, the latest flare of hatred in the Alamo City

“You do not stand alone against this moment of hate. We join you in saying: not in our city, not on our dirt, and never again,” said Reverend Ben Trammell of University United Methodist Church. “We join you in the work of remembering in the face of those who would deny the truth.”

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The Life in Art Photography
Rose Williams, a Holocaust survivor, lights a candle on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht with assistance from Becky Hoag on November 9, 202.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said his office stands ready to prosecute hate crimes.

“This conduct will not be tolerated. I stand with this community and with my brothers and sisters in denouncing this hatred,” Gonzales said.

Nearly one out of every four Jews in the U.S. has been the subject of antisemitism over the past year, according to a new survey from the American Jewish Committee.

About 17% of respondents said they had been the subject of an antisemitic remark in person. And 12% said they were the victim of an antisemitic remark online. Three percent said they were the target of an antisemitic physical attack.

“They are not new threats but a continuously pounding force that we must and we will resist,” Nirenberg said. “We will not allow bigotry to push us back to a darker time and we will not allow it to halt our progress.”

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