” KRISTALLNACHT – The NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS”
9 NOVEMBER, 1938
Today I attended a memorial service in Martin Place, organised by the Council of Christians and Jews, commemorating 75 years since the dreadful event known as Kristallnacht.
It was very moving and tastefully executed with Six readings by pupils from Trinity Grammar and Emanuel School. Equally moving were their excellent choral tributes.
Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence
Kristallnacht, the paroxysm of violence that subsumed Germany on the night of November 9-10, 1938, is considered by many to have been the first sign of the unfolding Holocaust. It is true that it occurred well before the Nazi policy of mass systematic murder of Jews – the “Final Solution” -coalesced, but, in retrospect, this expression of mass violence contained many of the elements that would develop into the Holocaust.
Over seventy years since that fateful night, and over six decades since the end of the Second World War, the events of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust can be seen to be resonating farther and deeper than ever before-but it is ultimately the story of individuals, families and communities, who have undoubtedly contributed to making it a touchstone for understanding our world.
On the evening of 9 November 1938, the German government unleashed a pogrom against the Jews. To describe it, the Nazis coined the phrase “Kristallnacht” or “Night of Broken Glass”. On that night, 91 Jews were killed, 30,000 Jews sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camps, 5,000 Jewish shops were looted, 191 synagogues attacked, and bonfires made of torah scrolls, prayer books and volumes of Jewish history, philosophy and poetry.
This action was a signal event of importance in the history of the Sho’ah or Holocaust as it is also called. It represents the shift from mass arrest and terror to mass murder. From the time of Kristallnacht onwards, the momentum of the Holocaust gathered force and led to the wholesale persecution and the killing of 6 million Jews including 1 1/2 million children.
The Night of Broken Glass was crucial in the movement towards the Final Solution, a systematic programme of genocide which was designed to annihilate every Jew in Europe. Soon would be added the deaths of millions of civilians, service men and women and partisans during World War II.
Rev. John Queripel
We remember that night of darkness and fear that swept the heartland of Christian Europe like a scourge. We remember those who were persecuted: Jews for being Jews. We remember those who spoke out, courageously trying to save a world.
And we remember the silence! How many stood aside, mute and unconcerned, forgetting the Divine command:
“You shall not stand idle while your neighbour bleeds.”
For the sin of silence, For the sin of indifference, For the secret complicity of the neutral, For the closing of borders, For the washing of hands from blame, For the crime of forgetfulness, For the sin of meaningless rhetoric let there be no forgetfulness before the Throne of Glory, and let memory startle us at any moment, when we lie down and when we rise up.
Let us remember and never forget.
TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE followed by Henry Mendelson breaking a glass.
ALL: God in Heaven, we remember.
We remember the Night of Broken Glass.
We remember the burning of synagogues,
We remember the looting of schools,
We remember the destruction of orphanages,
We remember the arrests,
The deportations, the deaths.
God in Heaven, we pray that with the breaking of this glass, our hearts may be broken in love and reconciliation. As we remember the burning synagogues, we pray that we may burn with commitment to protect minorities. With the destruction and looting of homes and buildings, we pray that we be stripped of false pride and nameless fear in order to stand up for our neighbour. God in Heaven, hear us, we pray.
KADDISH: Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins
The Kaddish is the Jewish prayer which is recited during the period of mourning and on the anniversary of a deceased member of a Jewish family or country. It prays that God may establish His Kingdom of peace in the world.
Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei rabba
b’alma di v’ra khir’utei, vyamlikh malkhutei b’chayeikhon u-v’yomeikhon
u-v’chayei d’khol beit Yisrael ba-agala u-vi-z’man kariv v’imru Amen. (All: Amen)
Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varakh l’alam u-l’aimei almaya.
Yitbarakh v’yishtabach v’yitpa’ar v’yitromam v’yitnasei, v’yit-hadar v’yit’aleh v’yit-halal sh’mei d’ku-d’sha
B’rikh Hu. B’rikh Hu leila min kol birkhata v’shirata, tush-b’chata v’nechemata da-amiran b’alma, v’imru Amen.
Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya v’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru amen
Oseh shalom bi-m’romav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru Amen
Let God’s name be made great and holy in the world that was created as God willed. May God complete the holy realm in your own lifetime, in your days, and in the days of all the house of Israel, quickly and soon. And let us say: Amen.
ALL: May God’s great name be blessed, forever and as long as worlds endure.
May it be blessed, and praised, and glorified, and held in honour, viewed with awe, embellished, and revered; and may the blessed name of holiness be hailed, though it be higher than all the blessings, songs, praises, and consolations that we utter in this world. And let us say: Amen.
ALL: Let there be abundant peace from Heaven, with life’s goodness for us and for all the people Israel.
And let us say: Amen,
May the One who brings peace to the universe bring peace to us and to the people Israel. And let us say: Amen.
Let us pray that we will be people of compassion who will make a space for the other. We share the world’s horror at the tragic loss of life resulting from terrorism and war. Together we mourn for the victims and grieve with those whose loss is so great. As people of faith we pray for peace and call on world leaders to respond by seeking justice, not revenge. May the God of peace protect us all.
THE SHOFAR was then sounded by Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence. It was chilling moment to hear its strains echo through Martin Place.
The shofar with its pure and piercing sound awakens our senses and reminds us of our origin, responsibility, and destiny.