75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

5 Nov
1389.8 Holocaust C

Germans walk by a Jewish business destroyed on Kristallnacht

On November 9, 1938, Nazi storm troopers and German citizens launched a massive, government coordinated attack on Jews throughout Germany.  The mobs burned synagogues, destroyed businesses, ransacked Jewish homes and brutalized the Jewish people.  A total of 1,350 Jewish synagogues were burnt to the ground or destroyed; 91 Jews were killed; 30,000 Jews were thrown into concentration camps; 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed; and thousands of Jewish homes were ransacked.

This night is known as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the streets were covered with broken glass from all the Jewish windows.  2013 marks the 75th anniversary of this horrific event.

Kristallnacht was a turning point in the history of the Third Reich, marking the shift from anti-Semitic rhetoric and legislation to the violent, aggressive anti-Jewish measures that would culminate with the Holocaust.

We are told to NEVER FORGET.  Never forget what happened during the Holocaust so that we may prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. Teach your children and grandchildren the lessons of the Holocaust.  As you may know, Florida is one of only five states in the US where Holocaust education is mandated in public schools.  Despite the best efforts of teachers and school administrators, many students still don’t seem to get the message.  This video demonstrates the need for schools and organizations, like our Jewish Federation, to continue to educate those of all ages about the lessons of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust.

To that end, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee will host an Interfaith Kristallnact Commemoration on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00pm at Temple Beth Sholom. The event will feature choral performances by Gloria Musicae and The Sarasota Jewish Chorale as well as participation from Holocaust survivors, children of Survivors and area Jewish, Christian and Catholic clergy:

  • Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocese of Venice
  • Hazzan Jeff Webber, Temple Beth Sholom
  • Rev. Dr. Tom Pfaff, Chair of the Sarasota Ministerial Association
  • Pastor John W. Walker Jr., Chaplain for Ringling College of Art and Design, New College and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
  • Deacon Humberto Alvia, St. Jude Church
  • Joel Swallow, Chairman, Mayor’s Feed the Hungry Program of Sarasota-Manatee

As well, Dr. Sigmund Tobias will speak about his experiences as a young boy in Berlin in 1938.  His remarks will touch on the history of Kristallnacht and what it represents; he will also discuss the importance of standing up against evil today.

Dr. Tobias has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University.  He served as a Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Institute of Education where he began, “Strange Haven: A Jewish Childhood in Wartime Shanghai.”  Dr. Tobias participated in two films on the subject, Shanghai Ghetto and The Last Refuge – The Story of Jewish Refugees in Shanghai.  A blog describing Dr. Tobias writing on Jewish subjects may be found here.

For more information, or to make a reservation for the program, visit www.jfedsrq.org/events.aspx or contact Orna at onissan@jfedsrq.org.

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