ORGANISERS of next Thursday night’s Kristallnacht commemoration service at the Sydney Jewish Museum have secured a dynamic guest speaker lineup of renowned human rights lawyer George Newhouse, Holocaust survivor and author Peter Nash, and young Stand Up volunteer Yoni Hochberg, which they hope will attract a healthy turnout by young adult members of the community.
Daniel Hochberg, chair of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Shoah Remebrance Committee, told The AJN as Holocaust survivors age, the committee recognised the ongoing need to step up efforts to make both the annual Kristallnacht and Yom Hashoah commemoration events more engaging and directly relevant to people from all age groups.
“A lot of the third and fourth generation (descendants of survivors) have been saying to us they are looking for insights and messages at these events that are meaningful to them,” Hochberg said.
“So the event will specifically commemorate Kristallnacht, but it will also provide universal messages through the guest speakers’ contributions.
“The rationale behind it is not in any way to compare things to the Holocaust, but to try to inform, and to apply the messages and lessons from the Shoah, in order to think about and respond to help other people in need today around the world.”
Candle lighting, prayers and moments of quiet reflection on the Night of the Long Knives – the pogroms against Jews on the streets of Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia on November 9, 1938 that marked the onset of the Holocaust – will remain the backbone of the service.
Newhouse will then shed light on his work and experiences advocating for refugees, advancing human rights and tackling the problem of Indigenous disadvantage in communities around Australia.
Nash, who witnessed Kristallnacht as a Jewish child living in Berlin, will share his family’s experiences of fleeing by boat to Shanghai which became a rare safe haven for 18,000 Jews during the war.
And Yoni Hochberg will talk about his work helping Indigenous youth in remote communities through Stand Up’s Derech Eretz program.
The service begins at 6pm on November 9 at the Sydney Jewish Museum. Bookings are essential. Phone (02) 9360 7999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.