Light Up The Church

March to May 2024: Kristallnacht News Update

Thank you once again for signing the Kristallnacht declaration.

We typically send a few stories about Kristallnacht and the Holocaust that were in the news during the previous month on the first week of every month. This update covers a three month period, from March to May 2024.

  • Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch on memory ambassadors, virtual reality and visibility of the past

    Ms. Knobloch, born in Munich in 1932, witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust, including the November pogroms of 1938 and her father's arrest. She evaded deportation by hiding with Catholic farmers under a false name. Now 91, she serves as the World Jewish Congress Commissioner for Holocaust Memory and President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria. Dedicated to preserving Holocaust memory, she advocates for inclusivity and education. During her visit to UNESCO, she discussed her lifelong mission to educate about the Holocaust and promote Jewish visibility.

  • Nazis launched Kristallnacht in 1938, a prelude to the Jewis

    Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, marked by widespread violence against Jews in Germany and Austria, resulted in numerous deaths, damaged businesses, and vandalized properties in 1938. Triggered by the murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a Polish Jew seeking revenge, the Nazis orchestrated attacks on Jewish citizens, blaming them for the incident. This event served as a prelude to further discriminatory policies that culminated in the Holocaust. Commemorative events today emphasize the importance of remembering Kristallnacht to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities and reaffirm values of tolerance and inclusion.

  • A new Holocaust Museum shows how three-quarters of Dutch Jews were deported and killed

    Flip Delmonte, who was rescued by the Dutch resistance as a newborn during World War II after his parents were detained by Nazi occupiers. Delmonte attended the official preview of the Netherlands' National Holocaust Museum, emphasizing the importance of remembering those who perished in the Holocaust. The museum, opening soon, aims to tell the stories of Dutch Holocaust victims through various exhibits and artifacts. Delmonte donated a photo of himself after the war to the museum but keeps his most treasured keepsake, a cookie plate that belonged to his mother, at home.

  • Holocaust museum gets trove of intimate stories of loss and survival

    Erzsebet Barsony and her son, Ervin Fenyes, endured a harrowing journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau in July 1944, packed in a cattle car for three days with no food or water. Authorities in Budapest had confiscated Erzsebet's wedding ring and Ervin's shoes before their deportation. Despite the cramped conditions, Erzsebet urged her tall son, who played the violin, to sit down to make more space in the crowded car.

  • House probes MIT over antisemitism on campus and reveals Kristallnacht attack on Jewish students

    The Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce accused MIT of failing to protect Jewish students, citing an antisemitic incident on Kristallnacht's anniversary. They expressed grave concerns about MIT's response to antisemitism since the Hamas massacre on October 7 and demanded evidence of the school's conduct. MIT president Sally Kornbluth and chair Mark Gorenberg were given a deadline of March 22 to provide documents or face a subpoena.

  • Beloved Kindertransport refugee and Shoah educator turns 100

    Holocaust survivor Henry Wuga, who arrived in Scotland from Germany in 1938 on the Kindertransport, celebrates his 100th birthday this Friday. As a cherished member of The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), his milestone coincides with the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport, which rescued 10,000 mostly Jewish children from Central Europe and brought them to Great Britain, starting in 1938.

  • Daughter of Holocaust survivor shares father’s story in new book

    Laura Soldinger Yotter co-authored "Death and Diamonds" with her father Samuel Soldinger, chronicling his survival of seven Holocaust camps and his journey to Arizona. Despite Samuel's passing before its publication, Laura is committed to preserving his memory through the book. "Death and Diamonds" highlights the resilience of the human spirit, including Samuel's experiences under Oskar Schindler's protection, providing a testament to those who endured similar trials during the Holocaust.

  • Holocaust Distortion: A Lecture by Professor Yehuda Bauer

    Professor Yehuda Bauer delves into the concept of Holocaust distortion, its manifestations, and its threat to liberal and pluralistic societies. Using contemporary examples from different countries, he explores historical developments, recent trends, and broader contexts, illustrating how Holocaust distortion is intertwined with the distortion of history overall.

  • Belgian-based Holocaust survivors: Jews are packing their bag, we are scare

    Rehoma Sluszny, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor in Antwerp, expressed concerns to Sky News about Jewish people preparing to leave due to increased antisemitism in Europe. Antwerp, home to the largest Hasidic population in Europe, saw a surge in antisemitic incidents following Hamas's October 7 terror attack, with 90 reported cases in six weeks. Sluszny highlighted heightened visibility of Jewish attire in Antwerp, citing instances of harassment, indicating a worsening situation compared to before.

  • Helma Goldmark, Holocaust refugee who joined resistance, dies at 98

    Helma Goldmark, an Austrian Jew, turned 12 in 1938, the year she realized her safety was compromised in her homeland. Following the Nazi annexation of Austria in March, and the antisemitic violence of Kristallnacht in November, SS officers brutally assaulted her father at their home in Graz. They left him severely injured in a nearby creek until a passing milkman transported him home on a horse-drawn cart, leaving visible imprints of their boots on his body.

  • Holocaust survivor shares story of survival at Viterbo Lecture Series

    Viterbo University's lecture series aims to educate about the Holocaust to prevent future atrocities, highlighting the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi Regime from 1941 to 1945. Survivor Ida Paluch Kersz shares her story to underscore the importance of remembering and combatting present-day antisemitism, urging young people to engage with community and political leaders. The public can hear Ida's story on April 3 at Viterbo Fine Arts Center, emphasizing the ongoing significance of Holocaust education.

  • Jewish group launches Holocaust survivor speakers bureau to fight increasing antisemitism worldwide

    More than 250 Holocaust survivors have joined an international initiative, the Survivor Speakers Bureau, to share their stories with students worldwide amid a rise in antisemitism following the Hamas attack on Israel. Launched by the Claims Conference, this program aims to educate about the Holocaust and combat rising antisemitism. Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, emphasized the importance of this initiative in educating for the future amid increasing antisemitism.

  • World War II museum remembers the Holocaust

    The Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum in Carrabelle is hosting an exhibit to commemorate the Holocaust, Hitler's genocidal campaign against Europe's Jews, until April 27. The exhibit sheds light on the establishment of various camps by the German government, where millions, including Jews, were persecuted and killed. As eyewitnesses grow older, the museum emphasizes the importance of understanding this dark period of history and invites visitors to explore the exhibit to honor the victims and learn from the past.

  • Czech Kindertransport survivor shares the story of how she escaped the Holocaust

    Eva Paddock, a Holocaust survivor, shared her poignant story during a lecture at Northeastern University, recalling her family's escape from the Nazi regime. Through the Kindertransport, she and her sister found refuge in England, where they were placed with foster families. Despite facing adversity, acts of kindness from strangers ensured their survival, highlighting the resilience and compassion amidst the atrocities of the Holocaust.

  • Holocaust survivor Bob Kahn dies at 100

    Bob Kahn, a Holocaust survivor from Dayton, passed away at 100 years old, leaving behind a legacy of resilience and teaching about his experiences during World War II. His harrowing account included witnessing the violence of Kristallnacht, where Nazis torched his school and assaulted his family. Despite enduring unimaginable horrors, Kahn's commitment to sharing his story and educating others about the Holocaust remained unwavering.

  • How 12 Jews survived the Holocaust hidden by a maid in a Nazi officer’s basement

    Irene Gut Opdyke, a Polish nursing student turned forced laborer during WWII, defied the Nazis by hiding 12 Jews, including a pregnant woman, in a German officer's basement for nearly two years. Her incredible story is depicted in the film "Irena's Vow," which will be shown in theaters across the U.S. and have a weeklong run in New York and Los Angeles. Despite facing unimaginable challenges, Gut's courage and faith guided her actions, inspiring hope and saving lives during one of history's darkest periods.

  • 101-year-old Holocaust survivor educates FBI agents about dangers of antisemitism

    Joseph Alexander, a 101-year-old Holocaust survivor, shared his harrowing story of surviving 12 concentration camps with FBI agents in Los Angeles amid a surge in antisemitism across the country. As agents listened attentively, Alexander recounted the persecution he endured during the Holocaust, emphasizing the importance of law enforcement in preventing such atrocities from happening again. Having lost his family at a young age during the Nazi invasion of Poland, Alexander's testimony served as a poignant reminder of the need to uphold civil rights and liberties in the face of hatred and discrimination.

  • Germany to give Holocaust survivors $236 payout to help them cope with October 7 attacks

    Germany, in partnership with the Claims Conference, is providing a one-time payment of $236 to each of Israel's 113,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors as a symbol of solidarity. Distributed in cooperation with the Israeli government's Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, this gesture underscores Germany's commitment to Israel's security and its acknowledgment of historical responsibility. This action reflects ongoing efforts to address the enduring impact of the Holocaust and strengthen ties between Germany and Israel.

  • ‘That's how it started in Germany.' Holocaust survivor alarmed by rise in antisemitism

    Joseph Alexander, a Holocaust survivor, recounts the atrocities he witnessed, including people being hanged and beaten to death in Nazi concentration camps. He laments the loss of his family members and expresses concern over the rise of antisemitism, drawing parallels to the events preceding the Holocaust. With over 8,800 antisemitic incidents reported in 2023, Alexander emphasizes the importance of education in combating hate and hopes for a future of peace and kindness.

  • Governor Abbott Appoints Blum, Mendelsohn To Texas Holocaust, Genocide, And Antisemitism Advisory Commission

    Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Adam Blum and Cara Mendelsohn to the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission until February 1, 2027. The commission's responsibilities include studying antisemitism, assisting schools, and engaging with public and private organizations for educational purposes. Adam Blum, a leader in various boards affiliated with The University of Texas, and Cara Mendelsohn, currently serving as a city council member in Dallas, bring diverse expertise to their roles.

  • Local Holocaust survivors' stories counter rising trend in antisemitism

    The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, has launched online videos featuring firsthand accounts from eight survivors of the Holocaust, emphasizing the importance of preserving their stories amidst current global events and rising antisemitism.

  • Remembering the Holocaust

    The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Nevada, Reno, is hosting a Day of Remembrance event titled "Beyond Courage: Jewish Resistance and Heroes During the Holocaust," emphasizing the importance of honoring the past and recognizing the bravery of Holocaust resistance fighters. With limited seating available, the event aims to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial through education, fostering awareness, empathy, and tolerance in society. OLLI's executive director, Dolores Ward-Cox, underscores the institute's commitment to commemorating the Holocaust's impact while advocating for the prevention of prejudice and discrimination.

  • 60 MINUTES - NEWSMAKERS Victims of Nazi concentration camps built in British Channel Islands finally being counted

    During World War II, two Nazi concentration camps were established on British soil in the Channel Islands, specifically on Alderney, as part of Hitler's Atlantic wall defenses. Although these camps are lesser-known compared to infamous sites like Auschwitz, they played a significant role in the Holocaust. The true extent of the atrocities and the death toll on Alderney remain hotly disputed, with estimates ranging from the low hundreds to over 10,000 deaths. Efforts are underway, including document searches and archival research, to accurately count the number of prisoners who perished on the island.

  • Could this be the most meaningful Holocaust memorial in New York?

    A plaque in Manhattan's Riverside Park marks the intended site for America's first Holocaust monument, honoring the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the six million martyred Jews of Europe. Plans for a grand memorial, including a sculpture by Jo Davidson, fell through in the 1960s for reasons still unclear, despite subsequent interest in Holocaust memorials worldwide.

  • Hidden in this picture, the murder of 1.1 million Jews

    In 2006, Rebecca Erbelding, an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, discovered a photo album in the museum's collection containing unexpected images from Auschwitz. Instead of the expected scenes of prisoners and trains, the album depicted Nazi officers picnicking, hunting, and celebrating Christmas. Upon closer inspection, Erbelding recognized Josef Mengele in one of the photos, providing the first photographic evidence of him at the camp where he conducted his gruesome experiments on prisoners. With the help of Judy Cohen, the museum's photographic collection director, several other members of Nazi leadership were also identified from the album.

  • Manfred Goldberg BEM

    Manfred, born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Germany in 1930, faced increasing persecution under the Nazi regime. His father fled to Britain just before World War II, but Manfred, his mother, and younger brother were deported to the Riga Ghetto in Latvia in 1941. They endured harsh conditions, including slave labor and frequent selections for mass shootings. Manfred survived the ghetto's liquidation and subsequent forced labor in Stutthof concentration camp until liberation in May 1945. He later resettled in Britain, completed his education, and built a family.

  • Ridgefield man's new memoir recounts his father's untold story of surviving the Holocaust

    Allen Hershkowitz, left, of Ridgefield, an environmental scientist whose parents are Holocaust survivors, wrote a short memoir called “Finding My Father’s Auschwitz File.” On April 10 Andrew Levine, of Ridgefield, is co-producing a reading of Allen’s memoir at Sacred Heart University. Hershkowitz and Levine have been friends since the age of 7. The Holocaust Resource Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County, and Sacred Heart University are co-producers of the event. Friday, April 5, 2024, Ridgefield, Conn.

  • Israeli Holocaust survivors to receive war grant from German fund

    As a result of the Claims Conference’s negotiations with the German government over the years, nearly 40% of survivors receive monthly payments while the rest are eligible for one-time or annual payments.. The Claims Conference earlier this week launched the Survivor Speakers Bureau (SSB), with more than 250 Holocaust survivors willing and able to tell their critical stories to students around the world.

  • With antisemitism on rise, Auschwitz exhibit counters with proof of Holocaust

    Historian Deborah Lipstadt had been sued for calling British academic David Irving a Holocaust denier in one of her books. So Mr. Irving sued for libel, doubling down on his denial. As a result of the testimony of Dr. van Pelt and others, Dr. Lipstadt prevailed – providing solid proof of Nazi war crimes at Auschwitz.

  • What was the German public’s reaction Kristallnacht November 9-10, 1938?

    On November 12, 1938, the Germans demanded one billion Reichsmarks restitution from the German Jewish community, a 20 percent tax on all their reported assets as declared on April 16, 1938, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia. This amounted to 400 million US dollars at 1938 rates. Insurance reimbursements for Jewish homes that were pillaged and demolished were appropriated by the government, leaving the onus on the individuals to assume the expenses of restoration

  • The Losing Battle to Beat Antisemitism in the Age of Misinformation

    Antisemitism is like crabgrass,” Oskar Knoblauch, a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor, responded. “It always appears after a rainy season. When it’s dry, you don’t see them. They reappear again. Sometimes, maybe in a small way, sometimes worse. We have to control it.”

  • Archivists are racing to identify every Jewish Holocaust victim

    The tally of the dead is hard to comprehend. Of the 9.5m Jews in Europe before the war, 6m were murdered. If you spent five minutes reading about each of them, it would fill every waking hour for 90 years. The overall civilian death toll attributed to the Nazis—including Gypsies, disabled people, gays, prisoners and bystanders to combat—was perhaps three times greater.

  • Wednesday, April 24th: Holocaust Survivor Kati Preston Part I

    The Holocaust was the genocide of European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe, around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population. The murders were carried out primarily through mass shootings and poison gas in extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, and Chełmno in occupied Poland. Separate Nazi persecutions killed a similar or larger number of non-Jewish civilians and POWs; the term Holocaust is sometimes used to refer to the persecution of these other groups.

  • State Department Hosts Federal Holocaust Remembrance Program on May 8

    The U.S. Department of State will host the 31st Annual Federal Inter-Agency Holocaust Remembrance Program, “Stories of Courage,” on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EDT). The hybrid event will be livestreamed to federal employees and the public from the Burns Auditorium of the Marshall Center at State.

  • France's last 'hidden Jewish children' share memories of surviving Holocaust

    Every last Sunday in April, France holds a national day of remembrance for the victims of deportation during World War II. Ceremonies are held in tribute to the 150,000 people deported from French soil to the Nazi death camps, many of whom never returned. But nearly 80 years since France was liberated from the Nazis, a page in history is turning. Few people who survived World War II and the Holocaust are still alive and able to share their experiences with young people and children.

  • On Holocaust Remembrance Day, hundreds of strangers attend funeral of Auschwitz survivor

    Hundreds of strangers on Monday attended the Haifa funeral of 95-year-old Esther Greizer, a Holocaust survivor who died overnight and does not have any immediate family.

  • To remember and never to forget

    Some could ask, why is it important to remember the Holocaust this year when we have our own trauma in 2024? Is history repeating itself again? What can we learn from the pain of the past? I don’t have the answers to such questions but this year I simply felt the need to listen to a Holocaust survivor. So I volunteered for Zikaron BaSalon, an NGO that pairs individuals with Holocaust survivors so they can hear and share their stories.

  • The world came to an end’: Six local Holocaust survivors share their harrowing stories

    Goldie Jacoby hid underneath a china cabinet to escape the Holocaust's violence. Her family had removed floorboards and dug a hiding place beneath the furniture, resembling a grave, to use if Nazis attacked their Jewish ghetto in Poland. Jacoby's uncle would hide in the attic and remove the chest to prevent suffocation. Despite their efforts to keep it secret, others discovered the hiding spot and joined them. Jacoby, then 5 or 6 years old, heard the screams and gunshots above. After a few hours, she was the first to struggle to breathe.

  • The Swedish Diplomat who rescued thousands of Jews during the Holocaust

    Raoul Wallenberg and Per Anger saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust by issuing fake Swedish identification papers and establishing safe houses protected by the Swedish legation in Budapest. On the 80th anniversary of the deportations in Hungary, Per Anger's son, Jan Anger, recounted this story at a Yom Hashoah event titled "Behind the Swedish rescue of Budapest’s Jews" held at the Sydney Jewish Museum.

  • Learn About the Heroic Rescue Effort that Saved Thousands of Children During the Holocaust

    In Nazi Germany, as conditions deteriorated, parents faced the agonizing choice of sending their children alone to foreign lands for safety or keeping their family together under increasing repression. In nine months, thousands of unaccompanied Jewish children under 17 were sent from Nazi-occupied Europe to the United Kingdom through the Kindertransport rescue effort. The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will showcase this remarkable rescue in the exhibition "Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War," featuring personal artifacts, stories, and firsthand testimony. The exhibition opens on May 19 and runs through November 17, 2024.

  • The new heart of the Jewish calendar: Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day - opinion

    Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, a prominent figure in modern Orthodoxy in Germany, wrote that "The Hebrew calendar is Judaism’s catechism," indicating that religious holidays convey the core values and practices of Judaism, making their observance a significant aspect of Jewish identity and religious life. Since 1948, Israel's Knesset has designated the Holocaust and the creation of the state of Israel as holy days on the Hebrew calendar.

  • Holocaust Survivor Speaks About Childhood In Hiding

    Holocaust survivor Maud Peper and her sister, Rita, spent most of WWII hidden on a Dutch farm, separated from their parents and adopting new identities with the help of the Dutch resistance. Maud Dahme (her married name) shared at the Brick Library how, at ages 6 and 4, they had to grow up quickly. Born in Amersfoort, Holland in 1936, Dahme recalled how life changed for Jews after Hitler's rise, especially following Kristallnacht, marked by shattered glass from Jewish businesses.