THE NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) will host its annual Kristallnacht commemoration at the Sydney Jewish Museum on Sunday, November 8.
Author Cheryl Koenig (pictured) will be the guest speaker at the commemoration, which will feature testimony from the late Gerry Levy and survivor Dr Joachim Schneeweiss.
The commemoration, which will include the lighting of six candles in honour of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, will also acknowledge the disturbing increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe today in the wake of terrorist attacks against Jews in France, Denmark, Belgium and Bulgaria.
Winner of the 2009 NSW Woman of the Year Award, Koenig is the author of four books. Her most recent, With Just One Suitcase, details the stories of her father and father-in law – one, a Jewish youth from Hungary, and the other a kind-hearted Catholic boy who lived a few kilometres away – and their remarkable reconnection in Sydney.
The book also captures some of the traumas associated with emigration and dislocation, and grapples with some of the challenges inherent in escaping wartime Europe to create a better future for their families on the other side of the world.
JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff said: “Kristallnacht awakened many Jews to the harsh reality that Nazi anti-Semitism was not a temporary phenomenon, but represented a mortal threat. It prompted thousands to leave, but tragically, so many could not. It is important for people everywhere to pause to mark the occasion, given its grim place in history as the beginning of the Holocaust. We encourage community members to be there.”
Kristallnacht – literally translated as Crystal Night, but known more accurately as The Night of Broken Glass – marked the beginning of the end for millions of Jews.
On November 9-10, 1938, large numbers of synagogues, homes, schools and Jewish-owned businesses in Germany and Austria were attacked and razed to the ground, while about 30,000 Jews were arrested and almost 100 Jews murdered in what is regarded as the onset of the Holocaust.
The commemoration starts at 6pm. For more information, call JBOD on (02) 9360 1600.