Gathering Recalls Kristallnacht
KEENE, N.H. 10/29/02 - A remembrance of Kristallnacht, a 1938 event marking the first case of state-sponsored mass violence against Jews by the Third Reich, will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Larracey Auditorium of Keene Middle School. The annual event is free and open to the public.
The program will feature symbolic candlelighting and glassbreaking, short readings by local citizens, musical interludes, and remarks by two witnesses of the Holocaust: Dutch rescuer Marion Pritchard and American liberator Warren Priest. The Keene Middle School Eighth Grade Band will accompany a presentation of slides depicting the Holocaust.
On the night of November 9, 1938, a pogrom was orchestrated throughout Germany and Austria by the Third Reichs Propaganda Ministry and the S.A. (Sturmabteilung or Storm Troops). During this violent night, 91 Jews were killed. In addition, 815 shops, 29 department stores, 171 homes, and 267 synagogues were burned or destroyed. The shattered panes of glass from windows of Jewish buildings gave the pogrom its name: Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass.
In the days following Kristallnacht, approximately 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to the concentration camps of Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. They were met at the camps with great cruelty imposed by the SS guards. Kristallnacht would prove a watershed for the total removal of Jews from Germany.
Born in 1920 in Amsterdam as a Gentile, Marion Pritchard was a student in social work when outrage at Nazi atrocities led her to begin rescuing Jews, especially children, from persecution. In all, she saved about 150 people During one terror-ridden night, she was forced to shoot and kill a Dutch policeman rather than allow him to arrest the Jewish family staying with her illegally.
Warren Priest, while serving as an orthopedic surgical technician with the 120th Evacuation Hospital of the U.S. Third Army, assisted with the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. After the war he began a career as a schoolteacher in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He has helped create materials to teach about the Holocaust, including a website at www.buchenwaldandbeyond.org.
The Kristallnacht remembrance is sponsored by Keene State Colleges Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, the KSC Campus Ministry, the Keene Interfaith Clergy Association, and the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a New York City-based organization. In coordination with the Keene Chamber of Commerce, many businesses will display information about both Kristallnacht and the remembrance in their display windows in the days before the event.