Published: Feb. 15, 2017

Beware Lest the Nightmare Recur: Remembrance of the Nazi Pogrom in the Night of 9 November 1939 
(Berlin: Association of Jewish Communities in the GDR, 1988)

Beware Lest the Nightmare RecurThe Mazal collection includes a broad range of books about memorials and monuments to those murdered in the Holocaust, as well as volumes describing memorial events, books by or about Holocaust museums, and guides produced by the various former concentration and extermination camps that functioned as museums or memorial spaces in the post-war era. The collection is particularly rich in materials produced by such sites from the Cold War era, when the Communist governments of Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia were in power in the region.

This full-color illustrated 111-page volume was produced by the Association of Jewish Communities in the German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany. It describes all the major events held in 1988 in East Germany to memorialize the Holocaust, which centered around commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of anti-Jewish pogroms that took place on November 9-10, 1938. During this violent assault, Nazis attacked Jewish businesses, synagogues, schools, and homes throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. When it was over, 267 synagogues had been destroyed, 30,000 Jews had been arrested, and hundreds had been assaulted, raped, or murdered. The Communist East German state, which saw itself as an anti-Fascist vanguard, put Kristallnacht at the center of the Holocaust memorial practices.

The book includes speeches and statements by rabbis and other Jewish leaders, as well as a speech by the head of East Germany, Erich Honecker, who was in office until weeks before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. That it was published in English is a testament to efforts by East Germany to reach out to Jews and anti-Fascist sympathizers globally and to promote itself as a worker’s state actively combatting hatred against minority groups.