Airline strike 'like Kristallnacht' claim

By Robyn Rosen, March 31, 2011

A British Airways steward has compared a dispute with the airline with Kristallnacht.

The comments were made on Victoria Derbyshire's programme on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday when guests discussed new strike action by British Airways staff.

One BA staffer, identifying himself only as Ian from Cheshire, phoned in in support of strike action, and said: "It's like Kristallnacht at the moment at BA. Everyone fears for their jobs. If you give someone a look, you don't know what's going to happen. You'll have your collar felt."

Ms Derbyshire responded: "That's an incredibly strong analogy you just made."

Ian replied: "Well, that's how it feels. There are just dreadful, dreadful things happening at work. There are people doing all sorts of awful things. It's just heartbreaking."

Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, took place between November 9 and 10 1938, when 30,000 German Jews were sent to concentration camps after hundreds of synagogues were burned down and Jewish shops attacked.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "Whatever the issues with this particular dispute, an attempt to draw a parallel with Kristallnacht shows a worrying lack of understanding about this iconic night of violence, which was a watershed moment in the murder of millions of European Jews."

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said: "This was a crass and insensitive comment, however innocently made. As others have said, 'if everything is like the Holocaust, the Holocaust becomes like everything else'."

A BBC spokesman said: "The comparison was made in a live and heated debate. Victoria Derbyshire did challenge it by intervening".

Last updated: 12:05pm, March 31 2011