My grandfather was a rabbi; although he had already emigrated from Hungary at the the turn of the century, my mom assured me that it most definitely COULD happen again and we should never forget

From The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis staged vicious pogroms—state sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots—against the Jewish community of Germany.

These came to be known as Kristallnacht (now commonly translated as “Night of Broken Glass”), a reference to the untold numbers of broken windows of synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, community centers, and homes plundered and destroyed during the pogroms.

Encouraged by the Nazi regime, the rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people.

They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside. Kristallnacht was a turning point in history. The pogroms marked an intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored murder of Jews.

My brother sent me an email and I got his permission to reprint it as a post. It’s brief but powerful and reminded me that we must always be vigilant against hatred.

This week my wife and I went to the Oregon Holocaust Memorial. We had an intense and unsettling experience.  The memorial is in a hilly wooded park near downtown. We started off in a European town square setting, a cozy stone bench. Everything was covered in leaves from the trees around it. We noticed a doll (sculpture) had been left behind on the bench. As we walked down the cobblestone path other items had been left. The cobblestones gradually turned into railroad ties. The path ends at a large curved stone structure with the story of the Holocaust. It has powerful quotes from some of Oregon‘s Holocaust survivors. The structure rests on a huge boulder that covers dirt from each of the death camps. On the back of the structure are names of some Jews who died in the Holocaust and their Oregon relatives. The names are engraved on shiny black stone. As I walked along reading the names I could see my own image reflected in the stone. We’ve been wanting to visit this memorial for years, but kept putting it off. For me, part of being a Jew is finding the courage to walk around while carrying a heavy load of vulnerability and grief inside.  State sponsored anti-Semitism “could” happen here. It probably won’t. But if it does, I won’t go passively to the camps. We all have developed ways of coping that work for us.

Laughing and crying
You know it’s the same release
Joni Mitchell

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas

43 thoughts on “KRISTALLNACHT. Never Forget.

  1. I lived in Israel for 10 years, National motto is “never again,” coupled with “lest we forget.” The holocaust never ended there … which probably explains a lot when you think about it. It gives me the willies. My husband is non-white News Reporter married to a liberal writer wife. Who are the FIRST couple up against the wall when the riots start? Maybe now that we are getting old, no one will care?


    • WOW. How did you like living there? I’m not into sharing, so when all my cousins went to stay on a kibbutz in the summer, I had NO interest in joining them. I think that people like you and your husband who are intelligent and well read and well spoken and have the ability to write and communicate will always be vilified at some point in time. I’m pretty skeptical about things, tho…

      On Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 7:42 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo


  2. Sad that it can easily happen, anywhere.
    Apartheid in South Africa started a few short years after the end of WW2.
    And too many groups would scapegoat another for problems they have nothing to do with.


  3. Pingback: Kristallnacht: heinous omen of the Holocaust | Fotoeins Fotopress

  4. I think people need to reminded of the past in order to stop history repeating itself. Sadly given how often history does repeat itself people tend to keep looking forward. You never know who the next nut job will rise to power. The fact that Hitler used the Jewish people as a scapegoat despite the fact his mother was Jewish shows that no one is safe. I don’t understand the need to blame other groups for whatever is ailing people at the time.


  5. Did you see CNN has a video article with survivors saying we have not learned anything, that we have forgotten? It’s powerful stuff and your brother is right–it could happen here. And we need to remember.


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