Last night, Nov. 7, at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, over 300 people gathered for a special program commemorating Kristallnach, the night of broken glass that occurred in Germany on Nov. 9, 1938.
Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, a Holocaust educator and author, offered an historical overview. People think that Kirstallnacht was a spontaneous national outburst of anger was really carefully planned she said. The Germans were waiting for an opportunity to humiliate the Jews and found it when a young man named Herschel Greenspan shot a Nazi ambassador in France because his family had been deported. The Nazis used this act to then orchestrate a march of evil and hatred Kassenoff said. Kassenoff goes on to say, within 48 hours,1300 synagogues had been burned with their Torah scrolls and prayer books inside, 7,000 Jewish businesses were ransacked and looted, 96 Jews were murdered, many Jewish homes, hospitals, schools and cemeteries were destroyed, and 30,000 Jews were arrested.
At the event there were four eyewitnesses to Kristallnacht. They discussed details from the experience, spanning the depressing memories of finding their synagogues burned and watching Hitler youth throw prayer books and other Jewish belongings into fires, as well as triumphant moments of escape from Germany captivity.
Rabbi Solomon Schiff, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Committee, said, “During those days the world saw what Adolf Hitler and the Nazis had in store for the Jewish people.”
Herbert Karliner, an eyewitness to Kristallnacht, said that he was 12 at the time. “We learned in Germany that because I was Jewish I was not allowed to play with the other boys, go to school, or movies or anything else. We were pushed away from the sidewalk. I don’t know why but I used to be good friends with these boys and all of a sudden, everything turned around.”