Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut Commemorates Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


The mission of this site is to inform the public about the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass – on Sunday, November 10, 2013 in New London, Connecticut.  The pogrom known as Kristallnacht perpetrated against the Jews of Germany and Austria on November 9 and 10, 1938 initiated the onset of the Holocaust.  That night transformed the policies of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany from prejudice, ignorance, discrimination and harassment to criminal conduct that included theft, vandalism, wrongful imprisonment in concentration camps, torture, and murder.  It was a night that brought ordinary people to evil.

The late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, wrote, “Both Adam and the beasts were blessed by the Lord, but man was also charged with conquering the earth and dominating the beast.  Man is always faced with the choice of listening either to God or to the snake.”  Rabbi Heschel understood that the choice is for each of us alone to make; however, he adds, “Being created implies being born in value, being endowed with meaning, receiving value.  Living involves acceptance of meaning, obedience, and commitment.  A person is responsible for what he is, not only for what he does.”

Primo Levi, the brilliant Jewish-Italian chemist and writer who survived Auschwitz, offered an insightful response to an inquirer who wanted to understand why the Holocaust happened, why the death camps were built, why some survived and others did not survive, and why Hitler and Germans hated Jews and wished them dead: “One cannot say that each turn follows from a single why:  simplifications are proper only for textbooks; the whys can be many, entangled with one another or unknowable, if not actually nonexistent.”  His answer reflected an intellectual response that protected a part of himself he dared not explore, but the same man, perhaps in a less protective moment, also wrote:  ”Anyone who has been tortured remains tortured.  Anyone who has suffered torture never again will be able to be at ease in the world, the abomination of the annihilation is never extinguished. Faith in humanity, already cracked by the first slap in the face, then demolished by torture, is never acquired again.”

The Night of Broken Glass – Kristallnacht – was the first slap in the face of the Jewish communities of Germany and Austria, and it would spread like a pernicious and contagious plague throughout Europe.  That slap would lead to unimaginable torture and murder for over six-million Jews.  One must ask:  How can faith in humanity ever be restored for those who lost so many loved ones in the Holocaust?  Perhaps Rabbi Heschel has part of the answer:  we must not only act in good ways, but we must be good; we must love and not hate; we must give value and not take value; we must embrace the Torah so that we may embrace our brothers and sisters; and, we must choose God over the snake.  That is a beginning, and remembering those whom we know suffered unjustly is a meaningful path upon which we sensitize ourselves to the sorrows of others and find within ourselves that Divine spark which leads to a newfound enlightenment.


Dr. Romana Primus. President, Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut.

Mr. Jerry Fischer, Director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut.

Dr. Gaby Schlesinger, Chair of the Kristallnacht Committee.

Dr. David Romei, Committee Member, Public Outreach/Internet.

Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg. Member.

Henny Simon.  Member

Marty Rutchik.  Member

Roz Etra.  Member

Rosa Goldblatt.  member

Nickie Padilla.  Member

Rachel Sheriff.  Member

Tracy Todd. Member



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