Kristallnacht event raising money for Gaza riles Denmark Jewish leader

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A leader of Denmark’s Jewish community criticized local politicians who raised money for Gaza at a Holocaust memorial event.

Donations raised at Sunday’s event in Copenhagen’s Norrebro district commemorating the victims of Austria and Germany’s 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms against Jews would go toward buying ambulances in Gaza, organizers from the Red-Green Alliance party said.

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“When the profits from the Norrebro event go to Gaza, whose government is at war with Israel, I think that there is an inappropriate confusion,” Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Jewish Community in Copenhagen, told the Kristelig Dagblad newspaper.

“I do not know if this is a deliberate attempt to draw a parallel between the actions of Germans then and those of Israelis today – a parallel drawn before by people on the left and one which I strongly reject. If it’s a coincidence, I think it is unfortunate.”

Allan Ahmad, a member of Red-Green Alliance who spoke at the event, said it was meant as a statement against any discrimination. Organizers invited Jews to speak at the event but they declined, he added.

Uffe Ostergaard, a historian and former director of Denmark’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, told the paper that he considered the event an “attempt to profit from Jewish suffering,” adding, “Considering how Jews feel about this date, the [Norrebro] event was in bad taste.”

Dozens of Jews were killed in the Kristallnacht pogroms, which historians consider the opening shot for the systemic application of violence against Jews by Nazi Germany and its helpers.