Protests cannot be compared to Kristallnacht

It was with great dismay that we saw the June 3 editorial cartoon in The Free Lance–Star, a comparison of the infamous pogrom of Nov. 9, 1938, in Germany (often referred to as “Kristallnacht”—or “Night of Broken Glass”) with the anti-racist street protests of June 2020.

By its very definition, an editorial cartoon sheds light on a societal issue poignantly, quickly, and without the need for a long explanation. We were struggling to find an interpretation that would not be racist.

Is the editorial cartoonist saying that the protests in the streets of 2020 are similar to the destruction of Jewish shops by the Nazi SA in 1938? That the actions of a state-run militia equal those of a group of oppressed people that has been over-proportionally killed by police in this country?

Do you really believe that protesters and looters are the same group of people?

This cartoon betrays at best an ignorance of history, and at worst a total lack of compassion for the plight of victims of racism in this country.

Marcel P. Rotter

Associate Professor of German

Jennifer Hansen–Glucklich

Assistant Professor of German

University of Mary Washington

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