Proclamation 5897

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By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Fifty years ago, on the night of November 9-10, 1938, German Nazis committed a nationwide pogrom against Jewish people. By the next morning, scores of Jews were dead, hundreds were injured, and many synagogues, shops, and homes lay in ruins. This vicious attack became known around the globe as "Kristallnacht"-"crystal night" or "the night of broken glass" from the mute evidence of shattered window glass it left in so many streets. Half a century later, we mourn every victim of this pogrom and we rededicate ourselves to preventing repetitions of such brutality anywhere and everywhere.

The world had been ignoring many warning signs in Germany and elsewhere of increasing anti-Semitism, disregard for human rights, and eugenically motivated assaults on individual dignity and worth. Kristallnacht surely should have alerted everyone that time had run out-that the "peace in our time" proclaimed hopefully by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain only a few weeks before was not to be. It took World War II to eliminate the Nazi threat to humanity and to our most sacred values.

Fifty years later, in our Nation's Capital, we have now laid the cornerstone for a national museum to commemorate those who perished in the Holocaust foreshadowed by Kristallnacht. We are determined as Americans to keep their memory fresh and enduring. We resolve to remind ourselves of the enormous evil of which mankind is capable and to remain vigilant.

We know that anti-Semitism is still present in the world and that there are still those who oppress others for their race, creed, or color and their simple desire for self-determination and a better life. We know where such racism and prejudice can lead. Let us ever recall that a remedy exists; it is our profound belief in and our readiness to defend the immortal declaration "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If we hold fast to these truths we will find the inspiration and the power to prevent inhumanity on the face of the earth.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 654, has designated November 4 through November 10, 1988, as "Week of Remembrance of Kristallnacht" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 4 through November 10, 1988, as Week of Remembrance of Kristallnacht. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:03 a.m., November 4, 1988]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).