Germany marked on Sunday the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, a prelude to the Holocaust, with solemn ceremonies throughout the country and celebrations of the rebirth of Jewish life in Berlin.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jewish leaders gathered at Germany's biggest synagogue to pay tribute to the victims of Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938 and to the revival of a Jewish community against all the odds.
The leader of the Central Council of Jews, Charlotte Knobloch, said she hoped a reminder of the atrocities would rekindle Germans' commitment to tolerance in the face of a resurgent far-right.
"It is our responsibility to keep the memories alive," Knobloch, who witnessed Kristallnacht as a six-year-old in the southern city of Munich, told the congregation of some 1,200 people at Berlin's Rykestrasse synagogue.
"Six million children, women and men must never be degraded to a footnote of history," she said, referring to the Nazis' bid to wipe out European Jewry.
The pogrom, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, saw Nazi thugs plunder Jewish businesses throughout Germany, torch some 300 synagogues and round up some 30,000 Jewish men for deportation to concentration camps.
Some 90 Jews were murdered in the orgy of violence, whose pretext was the murder of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris by a student, Herschel Grynspan, who sought revenge for the expulsion of his family from Germany with about 15,000 other Polish Jews.