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Gathering Commemorates Kristallnacht

KEENE, N.H. 10/29/01 - A commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, a 1938 event marking the first case of state-sponsored mass violence against the Jews by the Third Reich, will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Larracey Auditorium of Keene Middle School. The commemoration, free and open to the public, is sponsored by Keene State Colleges Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, the KSC Campus Ministry, and the Keene Interfaith Clergy Association.

The program will feature symbolic candlelighting and glassbreaking ceremonies, musical interludes, short readings by local citizens, and an address by historian Gerhard Weinberg of the University of North Carolina, who will speak on the subject November 1938: As Experienced Then, as Seen Now.

A native of Hannover, Germany, Dr. Weinberg escaped the Third Reich late in 1938 following Kristallnacht, and later served in the U.S. Army during 1946-47. After the war he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and served as a research analyst with Columbia Universitys War Documentation Project. During 1956-57 he served as director of the American Historical Associations Microfilm Project in Alexandria, Virginia. A prolific writer considered one of the countrys foremost experts on the war, Dr. Weinberg received the Herbert Hoover Book Award in 1995 for A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. He began teaching at the University of North Carolina in 1974, retiring in 1999.

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). On 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. At the camps, they were met with great cruelty imposed by the SS guards. Kristallnacht would prove a watershed for the total removal of Jews from Germany.

The Kristallnacht remembrance this year is part of The Second World War: A Legacy Remembered, a symposium at Keene State College held Nov. 8-10. For more information on the symposium and related events, look on the web at

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