80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

09 Nov 2018

Today is the 80th anniversary since Kristallnacht. The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth joined members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors' Centre for a memorial service. This day 80 years ago Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht over 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. In the words of historian Max Rein in 1988, "Kristallnacht came...and everything was changed.

 Speaking at the Holocaust Survivors' Centre, The Chief Rabbi said;

“Today we are marking 80 years since the most horrific night in Jewish history. With hindsight we can see this was an orchestrated event that served as the beginning of the Holocaust.

 “I feel honoured to be here today, at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors' Centre, to take part in your memorial ceremony. The world is sustained though courage and understanding of people who serve as an inspiration to others. You are an inspiration and I feel humbled and privileged to be in your company.”

 Holocaust Survivor Centre member Manfred Goldberg spoke about his memories of the night;

“I was an eye witness to the events of Kristallnacht. Despite the passage of time, the memories of 80 years ago remain crystal clear in my mind, as do my memories of my time spent in the camp”.

 “I was an eight-year-old boy. I remember being terrified seeing hordes of brown shirts, the tough guys of the Nazi system, running through the streets. I remember distinctly the commotion outside my house, we were so scared we stayed inside”.

 “That night every Jewish shop and looted and ransacked. The large synagogue just down the street from where we lived was totally ransacked and when they had had their fill of destruction it was set alight, still smouldering the next morning”.

 “One or two weeks after Kristallnacht I remember all the children from the Jewish Primary School were taken to the site of the shul which was now a pile of rubble. We were ordered to pick it up and throw it onto the truck. To all of us, young children, it was terrifying, but we had to just obey orders”.