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Our duty to fight Jew-hatred in Germany, says Merkel

HISTORIC VISIT: Angela Merkel enters the synagogue, flanked by Jewish leaders Josef Schuster (left) and Gideon Joffe

VIOLENCE against Jews is growing again in Germany - eight decades after the Holocaust, Chancellor Angela Merkel told a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony in a Berlin synagogue.

Dressed in black, she said that Germany has a moral duty to fight rising antisemitism.

In an emotional speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, she added at the Rykestrasse Synagogue: "Jewish life is blossoming again in Germany - an unexpected gift to us after the Shoah.

"But we are also witnessing a worrying rise in antisemitism that threatens Jewish life in our country. This form of antisemitic violence reminds us of the beginning of the pogroms."

Kristallnacht on November 9/10, 1938 - when nearly 100 German Jews were killed, 30,000 arrested and sent to concentration camps, and 250 synagogues destroyed - was marked in Germany and Austria. The name refers to the broken glass that littered streets outside synagogues and Jewish shops and homes.

In Vienna the head of Austria's government, which includes a party founded by ex-Nazis, pledged support for Israel's security.

Austria for decades presented itself as a victim of Nazism rather than acknowledge its collaboration with its crimes, including the Holocaust. Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that had changed.

"We did it too late, but we have grappled with our own history," he told a ceremony in parliament marking the anniversary.

"We do not simply suppress the events of the darkest hours of our history in the year 2018."


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