November 9-10th, 1938 is known as Kristallnacht, the nights when German Nazis attacked Jewish homes, property and people. Kristallnacht is also referred to as, “The Night of Broken Glass” due to the amount of glass left in the streets of the aftermath.
During these raids, over thirty thousand Jewish men were sent to concentration camps; this was before the actual Holocaust took place shortly after.
Nov. 12 Seton Hill University invited students, faculty, community members and Holocaust survivors to Saint Joseph’s Chapel on campus to remember those impacted by the night of glass. The ceremony began with an introduction to what was going to be observed.
Two Holocaust survivors were invited to speak infront of those gathered about their experience.
One of the survivors described how if it weren’t for the generosity of a nun taking her in as a small child, she wouldn’t be able to tell her story.
Six student speakers read passages during the ceremony as candles were lit to honor those whose lives were lost. The candles represented the six million individuals lost during the past events.
Two additional candles, smaller than the previous six, were lit in honor of the one and a half million children who perished.
After the speakers wrapped up, Dr. Jacob, spoke to the audience. He thanked all for the invitation to speak and spoke highly of the work accomplished at SHU in memory of the Holocaust, referencing The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education.
The National Center for Holocuast Education is located on the third floor of Administration building at SHU.
Theology major, Jen Henry, a speaker at the Kristallnacht event said she was “incredibly proud” to be part of a campus that is able to discuss a difficult part of history.
While discussing the benefits of the Holocaust Center, due to the interfaith service, Henry was able to further connect to the Judeo-Christian values that the university was founded on, saying, “even though we [Seton Hill] are a Catholic University, we stem from the Abrahamic roots parallel to our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Henry said the event solidified her perspective “on the need for further conversation among faiths.”
Ruth Drescher, survior of the Holocuast, spoke highly of Seton Hill and how we are doing a “wonderful job and should be a model for other holocaust education centers.”
Drescher also mentioned how it was very impressive that Seton Hill was chosen to be one of the first education center in a Judeo-Christian based university.
After her work with the University and Kristallnacht for over ten years, she “couldn’t be more pleased” with how it is being remembered.
Another survivor, Shulamit Bastacky, spoke of the benefits of having this event. Bastacky emphasized how “the key is being educated” on the subject.
Bastack stated that “it is so important to be educated and many are misinformed by social media, it is important to have an education.”
For over twenty years, Bastacky has traveled to various schools including SHU.
Bastacky believes that educators of every level are doing an excellent job at teaching against hate.
Published by Caitlin Srager