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'Night of Broken Glass' Remembered

Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Updated: Saturday, May 30, 2009 12:05


Elizabeth Pierdominici/The Chronicle

Students gather in the valley between the towers for the vigil.

Remembering those who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime and learning lessons from the past, students held a candlelight vigil on Tuesday.

The event was sponsored by Hillel and was open to the entire student body.

Kristallnacht, or "The Night of Broken Glass," refers to the anti-Semitic riots that took place in Austria and Germany on Nov. 9 and 10 in 1938. During the riots, 91 Jews were murdered and more than 1,100 synagogues were burned to the ground. Jewish-owned businesses were also targeted.

Following the events, 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. The riots are considered by many to mark the beginning of the Holocaust.

"I don't think we are so well aware of the details of how events unfolded," Jessica Barthlow, a junior psychology major and action chair at Hillel, said. "Kristallnacht was the start of what basically ignited the whole Nazi regime, so it's an eye opener."

At the vigil, participants stood in a circle and lit small Yahrzeit, or memorial candles. The event was held in the valley in the center of the towers on campus.

"It's easy to forget about what happened with your daily life schedule," Erika Herman, a member of the Jewish Campus Core, said.

At the event, attendees took turns reading pieces from the likes of Bob Dylan and Auschwitz survivor Cecil Kline.

"We've been doing this for over 10 years now. It helps to heighten awareness of something that is just so hard to comprehend," Rabbi Meir Mitelman, the advisor for Hillel, said.

The vigil also focused on the lessons that could be learned from the events that took place during Kristallnacht.

Pamphlets handed out at the event stated that "Kristallnacht teaches us that we must protest immediately and forthrightly whenever freedom and justice are threatened."

"It's only been 67 years since this happened," Stephanie Ringel, the Jewish Student Life coordinator at the University, said. "Students can come and hear the stories of people so similar to their own grandparents."

The event was part of the Hillel's two-part service to commemorate the anniversary of "The Night of Shattered Glass."

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