Kristallnacht-75 Years Later by Howard B.Fuchs M.D.
On Sunday November 10th at Temple Beth Sholom, I was honored to be invited to participate in an excellent program coordinated by Orna Nissan of the Jewish Federation to commemorate Kristallnacht "the Night of Broken Glass". Betty Silberman delivered a wonderful introduction and emceed the event. There were solemn yet artistic musical performances by Hazzan Jeff Webber,the Sarasota Jewish Chorale and Gloria Musicae.
The Guest Speaker was Sigmund Tobias a child survivor of Kristallnacht who later became a College Professor.
He gave a brilliant eyewitness account from a child's view and also a detailed historical prospective of the impact of "the Night of Broken Glass"
The second Speaker the Bishop Frank DeWayne added some provocative pearls of wisdom and the closing Benediction of the program.
Kristallnacht took place over a 24 hour period between November 9-10,1938.On November 7,1938 a Jewish Teen ager Hershl Grynspan ,studying in Paris went to the German Embassy to inquire about his missing parents. He subsequently wounded a Nazi Secretary who died 2 days later. Minister Goebbels immediately announced a Government-sanctioned reprisal against the Jews of Germany. Nazis and their collaborators murdered between 100-200 Jews and raped, tortured and imprisoned thousands of others.191 Synagogues were torched and destroyed. Jewish businesses, homes and schools were vandalized and looted. Until that vicious violence ,Anti-Semitism mostly consisted of increasingly repressive laws that deprived Jews of all their rights as citizens during Hitler's time as Chancellor from 1933-1938.
During the Temple presentation, along with other Professionals, Holocaust Survivors, Religious Leaders and Students, I was asked to read a few of these laws. Since I am a Pediatrician and a son of 2 Concentration Camp Survivors, mine included edicts against practicing Medicine and prohibiting Jewish Children from attending Public Schools. The others read other similar laws which eventually made life intolerable for Jews in Germany.
Because there was little World response/outrage after Kristallnacht,the Nazis interpreted this as a sign that violence against Jews would not be contested. Thus this Pogrom begat the systematic persecution, torture and murder of Jews throughout Europe which ended with 6,000,000 deaths of innocent men, women and children.
It was important to me that this event at the Temple included Students on the podium and Teen agers in the audience because Genocide is something that they must know must be prevented in their lifetimes.
To learn more about Generation After group and Holocaust education programs please contact Orna Nissan.