“Building Resilience through Memory” was the theme for this year’s Kristallnacht remembrance event held at the Colonial Theater.
The event is held annually to remember what took place on Nov. 9, 1938, The Night of Broken Glass. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 91 Jewish people were murdered during Kristallnacht and approximately 7,500 Jewish owned businesses, homes, and schools were plundered.
The presentation was free to the public and included a candle lighting ceremony followed by keynote speakers from the Cohen Center and other local leaders connected to the cause. In collaboration with KSC professor Dana Smith’s “Art and the Holocaust” course, this year’s participants were encouraged to paint a rock with the themes of rememberance and prevention in mind to create a memorial display. Tom White, the coordinator of educational outreach at the Cohen Center, described the importance of Kristallnacht in relation to the Holocaust. “Kristallnacht was sort of that threshold moment when German society was fully aware of where Nazis were going, it’s the first sort of governmental coordinated attack on its Jewish population,” he said.
White continued to explain the importance of the yearly event. “What this annual event does is allows us to honor the memory of those who were targeted, but then ask fundamental questions of ourselves about what we’re doing today to help those who are targeted by the same forces of hate, anger, racism, anti-semitism, and bigotry,” he said.
According to the Anti Defamation League, there were 2,717 anti-semitic incidents nationwide in 2021, a 34% increase from the previous year. “We have to really face that, confront it and not ignore it, and recognizing always that democracy and the protection of people and democracy is what always beats fascism, but we can’t ignore that it’s being thrown our way,” White said.
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