FEDERAL Cabinet Secretary Mark Dreyfus and Kristallnacht eyewitness Dr Harry Rich will be the keynote speakers at next week’s Kristallnacht commemoration in Sydney.
The service, which is being organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD), will mark the 74th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass.
An estimated 267 synagogues and 500 Jewish-owned commercial establishments were destroyed, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated, 30,000 Jewish men were deported to concentration camps and 96 Jews were murdered in Germany and Austria on November 9-10 in 1938.
Rich grew up in Vienna and was 12 years old when Kristallnacht erupted.
“Our neighbour, a professor with a silver-tipped cane, disappeared, never to be seen again,” he recalled.
“The noise, the terror, it was frightening.”
Rich, his parents and a grandparent left Europe and arrived in Sydney in February 1939.
He will be joined by Dreyfus, who is the federal Labor member for Isaacs and a descendant of Holocaust survivors.
JBOD chief executive Vic Alhadeff said all members of the community should try and attend the ceremony.
“Kristallnacht is acknowledged as marking the onset of the Holocaust,” Alhadeff said.
“It set the stage for the carnage which was to follow. Marking the event with a dignified ceremony is therefore very important, and it is appropriate that it be strongly supported.”
The ceremony is supported by a grant from the NSW Community Relations Commission and will be held at NCJWA Council House on November 8 at 6.30pm.
MP Mark Dreyfus.