Jewish community in the German city Essen to boycott “Kristallnacht” commemoration

Jews in the western German city of Essen have announced their boycott of the city’s commemoration of the Nazi pogrom often called “Kristallnacht“.

It’s the first time that the Jewish community of Essen will not participate in the annual memorial event in the city’s Old Synagogue.

At issue is a flyer that an employee in the city’s office for intercultural projects signed and circulated last year in which she called Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert “Adolf Olmert” and used the phrase “Holocaust in Lebanon.” Jewish leaders say that Essen’s mayor Wolfgang Reiniger had promised not to reinstate the employee to her post, yet she was back less than a year later.

The unnamed woman wrote and signed the leaflet in August 2006, at the height of Israel’s war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and then distributed it attached to a municipal publication. She was cautioned and temporarily moved to a position in the youth department.

The employee, who is of Lebanese background, later said she regretted the statements in the flyer and in July was reinstated to her position in the integration office. She reportedly would have had to return to Lebanon if she were removed from her job.

Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said he plans to meet with Reiniger this week to see if a compromise solution can be found.


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