On 26 November 1938, Gandhi published in his journal Harijan a reasonably lengthy statement entitled simply, ‘The Jews’. ‘My sympathies,’ he candidly stated, ‘are all with the Jews’, and yet he could not be blind ‘to the requirement of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?’ Gandhi had penned these reflections on 20 November in response, as he wrote in the opening paragraph, to ‘several letters’ asking him to declare his ‘views about the Arab-Jewish question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany’. Earlier that month, in a single night of terror crystallised as Kristallnacht, SA storm troopers, often joined by German civilians, went on a systematic and unchecked rampage in Nazi Germany and parts of Austria against Jewish homes, shops, businesses, and synagogues, thereby signaling their determination to put into place a policy of annihilationist horror that would lead eventually to the ‘Final Solution’. A quarter of the Jewish male population of Germany was, on the single night of 9–10 November, dispatched to concentration camps.

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