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Night of the Broken Glass – Beth Tzedec Congregation commemorates the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht Pogrom

November 2023

On 10 November 2023, Beth Tzedec Congregation and the Toronto Holocaust Museum held a commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, as a part of Neuberger Holocaust Education Week. This was pogrom carried out against Jews by the Nazi Party’s Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary and Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary forces, along with some participation from the Hitler Youth and German civilians throughout Nazi Germany on the night of 9–10 November 1938.

Literally translated as Crystal Night, in reference to the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed. The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst von Rath by Hersschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris.

On this night of terror, Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked as attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers by rioters, who destroyed 267 synagogues and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Over 30, 000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.

Beth Tzedec Congregation welcomed a group of Holocaust survivors and their family members for a candle-lighting ceremony honouring, along with a presentation about disinformation during the Holocaust from Zachary Mazur, Senior Historian at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.  

Lighting of the first of six candles, lit by Holocaust survivors, was Saul Reichert and family, in honour of the victims of the Holocaust. The second candle was lit by Renny Friedman and family, in honour of the 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust. The third by Mark Lane and family, in honour of Holocaust survivors; the fourth by Miriam Zeigler and family, in honour of the victims of Kristallnacht and all violent attacks in Jewish history; the fifth by Elly Gotz, in honour of the victims of the 7 October terrorist attack in Israel and the sixth by Eva Meisels and family, in honour of the approximately 240 hostages taken in the 7 October terrorist attack.

In the lobby of Beth Tzedec Congregation were a collection of red hear balloons, floating atop a cards laid out in concentric rings, each featuring the photo of one of the approximately 240 Israeli citizens taken hostage by the Hamas terrorist group in their attack on Israel, three days earlier on 7 October.

Toronto Holocaust Museum

Sources: Kristallnacht – Wikipedia, Neuberger HEW Kristallnacht Commemoration – Beth Tzedec Calendar – Beth Tzedec (beth-tzedec.org), Neuberger HEW | Kristallnacht Commemoration | Events | Toronto Holocaust Museum, Toronto Holocaust Museum – A Museum by UJA, Home – Beth Tzedec (beth-tzedec.org).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/night-of-the-broken-glass-kristallnacht-commemoration/

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