Schicksalstag = Day of Fate

I was aware that the ninth of November was an important date in Germany. I was at my aunt's in Aschaffenburg for All Saints Day, which is an official holiday in Baden-Württemberg (where I live) and Bavaria (where I was), as well as in many other Staaten. Traditionally, every family goes to the cemetery and stands at the graves of their relatives while mass is held at the chapel. These days it's projected on loudspeakers. I missed out on this, but we did visit the graves of my aunt's wife's grandparents, and my aunt mentioned that November 9th is also a day of remembrance.

When Maraia reminded me that it was November 9th last Sunday, I couldn't remember what that meant. Naturally, I went to Wikipedia and started scrolling through the events, looking for German ones. The first I saw was Nov. 9, 1989: the day the Berlin Wall was opened. Der Mauerfall (Mauer = wall). But I was astonished by how many other important things happened on this date.

Nov. 9, 1848 is considered the end of the 1848 Revolution. Robert Blum, a German politician, was executed for his participation in the fight for a democratic government. Fifty years later—Nov. 9, 1918—the Weimarer Republik, Germany's first attempt at democracy, was established.

Nov. 9, 1923 is the day of Hitler's failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, when he and other members of the Kampfbund (Fighting Society), inspired by Mussolini's March on Rome, attempted to overthrow the Weimarer Republik. It was during the following prison sentence that Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. Nov. 9, 1925 saw the founding of the SS (Schutzstaffel = Protective Squadron). It was originally established as a personal guard for Hitler, but later was given much more power, including control of the concentration camps.

Maraia had been reminding me of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, which is what this date is commemorated for. "Reichskristallnacht" was the Nazis' euphemism; now, it is more appropriately known as Reichspogromnacht or Novemberpogrom, at least in German. Germany doesn't celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of November because of the pogrom that took place on this night. Jews were arrested, deported to concentration camps, murdered. Synagogues were burned, homes and businesses destroyed. This is said to be the beginning of Hitler's systematic eradication of the Jews.

Because so many important events took place on this date, Nov. 9th is known as Germany's Schicksalstag—its day of fate. And if these weren't enough, here are a few that aren't connected to German political history:

1494: the Medici become rulers of Florence
1620: the Mayflower sights land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts
1799: Napoleon leads the coup d'état that ends the Directory government and becomes First Consul of France
1917: Stalin enters the USSR's provisional government
1921: Einstein receives the Nobel Prize in Physics

Apparently, Nov. 9th is World Freedom Day in the US. To commemorate the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Weird. (November 9 on Wikipedia.) Since the Mauerfall isn't celebrated, even though it would be cool to celebrate the reunification on the same day as the first Republic was founded, the holiday is Oct. 3rd, der Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity). This was the date of the formal reunification (Wiedervereinigung).

Yesterday, Maraia and I were working on our presentation for our German history class and typing in many dates, including Kristallnacht. In the German format, it's 9.11.1938. No big deal. But if we wanted to make a conspiracy theory, it would involve 11/9 and 9/11.

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