It may be the 84th anniversary since Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, in Nazi Germany, yet given the alarming rise of antisemitism right now in 2022, 1938 seems much closer.
And this is why I believe, while it is important to commemorate Kristallnacht every year, it is especially so now.
The above NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast with Nicholas Melvoin — the vice president of the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District – presents an interesting starting point for a low-key Kristallnacht program.
How can we prepare ourselves for calmly replying to antisemitic comments said to us?
In the above podcast my co-host Evelyn Markus and I discuss with Melvoin a personal experience he had recently and what he might have said.
And this conversation, along with a conversation with a college student wanting to do something about antisemitism, gave me the idea for this November 9th Kristallnacht commemoration at the synagogue to which I belong in Los Angeles:
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF KRISTALLNACHT — AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION ABOUT COMBATTING ANTISEMITISM TODAY
For the Kristallnacht portion, do a reading of this short part from my play www.ThinEdgeOfTheWedge.com —
Then do a somewhat longer reading from my play that includes a chilling first-hand account from Arnold Geier’s book HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST – see section starting near the top of page 4.
Discussion portion of event:
These two brief readings would be followed by an informal brainstorming session about how individuals can speak up against antisemitism today. People can share their thoughts about what Melvoin could have said and what we can say in similar situations.
We wouldn’t expect to come up with all the answers. Yet we would have made a start!
What can your local community do on the November 9th anniversary of Kristallnacht to encourage individuals to speak up against antisemitism?
And my thanks to Dr. Samantha Mitschke of https://holocaustonstage.com/ for arranging with student ambassadors of the Holocaust Educational Trust to use excerpts of www.ThinEdgeOfTheWedge.com for a Kristallnacht commemorative event in the U.K.
And in Munich on Nov. 9 — Terry Swartzberg plans:
On Reichspogromnacht (that’s how we call it here), we – descendants of victims and of members of the Widerstand (Resistance) and my young people — Generation Commemoration — will be marching from the walls of Stadelheim — the prison in which 1200 members of the Resistance and Jews were executed — into the cemetery in which these people are buried along with 4000 inmates of Dachau.
We will be accompanied by commemorative music and images. We will pay homage at the graves of Hans and Sophie Scholl, Alexander Leipelt and others, and then do a Faces for the Names upon the walls of the cemetery’s main hall.