Pompeo visits Berlin synagogue desecrated during Kristallnacht

US Secretary of State: We must acknowledge painful histories so we can ensure that they never happen again.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday visited the Neue Synagoge ("New Synagogue") in Berlin on the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht.

“Humbled to stand in the Neue Synagogue in what was once East Berlin, on the eve of the 81st anniversary of Pogromnacht, when the synagogue was desecrated. We must acknowledge painful histories so we can ensure that they never happen again. #NeverAgain,” he tweeted.

During "Kristallnacht", a Nazi mob broke into the synagogue, desecrated the Torah scrolls, smashed the furniture, piled up such contents as would burn in the synagogue interior, and set fire to them.

Lieutenant Otto Bellgardt, the police officer of the local police precinct on duty that night, arrived on the scene and ordered the arsonists to disperse, saying the building was a protected historical landmark and declaring he would uphold the law requiring its protection. This allowed the fire brigade to enter and extinguish the fire before it could spread to the fabric of the building, and the synagogue was saved from destruction.

The New Synagogue was subsequently repaired by the congregation, who continued to use it as synagogue until 1940.

On Thursday, Pompeo visited the synagogue in Halle, Germany that was the target of an anti-Semitic attack on Yom Kippur one month ago, together Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“Our whole team has made a major focus on stamping out anti-Semitism wherever we find it. It’s an honor for me to come here alongside you and share America’s sympathy for what took place here and to remind the world that anti-Semitism is not just limited to certain places. We can find it everywhere… like in Pittsburgh. We must work together against this vicious attack on religious freedom,” said Pompeo.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)