Kristallnacht survivors remembered

The 24th annual Kristallnacht remembrance service was held in the St. Joseph’s Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A service recalling Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, is held each year in order to honor those who died that night and to raise genocide awareness.“I’m speaking for the voices that were silenced so I can represent them. I’m also speaking for the Gypsies. We should also not forget them. They were the first to be taken to the concentration camps and taken out,” said one survivor, a woman from Lithuania.The ceremony started with the reflections of a few survivors of the Holocaust from France, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and other countries. Some lost their families in the Holocaust. Others worked with American and Jewish fliers as rescuers.Next, students read short speeches and lit candles in remembrance of the millions who died on Kristallnacht. Max Mendler, the grandson of Holocaust survivor Bob Mendler, sang the Shema in Hebrew.

Fritz Ottenheimer gave a reflection on his experience with Kristallnacht. Born in Germany, Ottenheimer and his family escaped the Holocaust and came to America. Shortly thereafter, he joined the American army in Europe and fought against the Germans in World War II.

“I remember waking up early on the morning of Nov. 10 to an explosion. I wondered what could have caused an explosion. I ran to the window. All I saw that was unusual was a flickering red light in the clouds. I ran out to the backyard where we had always been able to see the beautiful synagogue where, six months earlier, I had celebrated my bar mitzvah. Instead I saw a wall of fire,” said Ottenheimer.

James Paharik, professor of sociology, presented the Ethel LeFrak Outstanding Student Scholar of the Holocaust Award to senior Josie Rush for her essay “Picturing a Better Future: Media Literacy and Genocide.”

“I’m honored and sincerely humbled to accept this award,” said Rush. “The difficulty in life is to speak out about what isn’t easy to speak about and teach others.”

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