This past weekend, November 9 and 10, marked the 75th anniversary of the attacks of Nazi troops on Jews in Hitler’s Germany and areas of Austria.
The 1938 attacks destroying Jewish synagogues, homes, and stores killed more than 90 German Jews and sent another 30,000 to concentration camps.
The attack has become known as Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass.”
Sunday, a service was held at Westminster Abbey to remember the event. A remarkable number of Christians and Jews came together for the worship service where the Shoah candelabra from the Belsize Square Synagogue in London was carried throughout the church.
Leading the prayer, the Dean of Westminster, Reverend Dr John Hall said:
“Seventy-five years after the terrible pogrom against the Jews by the Nazi regime on the night of 9th–10th November 1938, a night we know as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, we gather for a solemn act of remembrance. We shall hear of the experience of those days, and we shall mourn again not only the victims of that night, but all the victims of Nazi persecution.”
Multiple countries and faiths came together to light six memorial candles such as Kristallnacht surivivor Ann Kirk and her grandchildren, along with an English Rabbi and Reverend, German Minister, and Israeli Ambassador.
Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi gave an address of remembrance and promise with the opening statement:
“We are here this evening, Jews and Christians together, to commemorate with sadness, but also to find, if at all possible, a message of hope out of Kristallnacht. So I want to remember those amazing British diplomats whose actions led to so many of us being here to tell the tale. The story is still unfolding. But it is becoming increasingly clear, amongst all the- justified- criticism of Britain for not taking in more Jewish refugees in the late 1930s, that there was a network of consular and diplomatic officials, good Christians, who helped desperate people well beyond the call of duty.”
She goes on to recall stories of the British helping the Jews in this great time of need. Her closing statement is as follows:
“As we remember the terror, the death and destruction, the loss of parents, family and friends, let us use today, Jews and Christians together, to remember that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. They are why we have an obligation, as ordinary people, to help those others who are in fear of their lives the world over, to get round bureaucracy, to save even one single human life. For in our tradition, he who saves a single human life is as if he has saved a whole world.”