Britain stops to remember
THE UNITED Synagogue is encouraging shuls and community members to mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht this week by leaving a light on over Shabbat.
The ‘Leave the lights on’ campaign is designed to commemorate the first official Nazi pogrom, when over 250 shuls were set alight and 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed.
Steven Wilson, chief executive of the United Synagogue, said: “We must remember the event for what it was: a pogrom, an organised violent attack on the Jewish community.
“Eighty years ago, hundreds of Jewish buildings burned through the night as fire crews were expressly forbidden to dampen the flames. This Shabbat, shuls across the country will commemorate the pogrom by choosing to leave a light burning brightly through the night.
“Individuals are welcome to do so too in their own homes. The Nazi party is consigned to the history books. The Jewish people live on. Am Yisrael Chai.”
Gaby Glassman, chair of the Yom Hashoah Committee of Pinner Synagogue, and a trustee of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), said she would be taking part because it is important to teach others about the message from Kristallnacht: to not stand by.
“Kristallnacht signified the start of the Nazi’s overt and widespread discrimination against the Jews.
“What started as the burning of books and buildings soon became the burning of bodies — again with minimal response. As ever, what started with the persecution of the Jews soon enveloped many others.
“In Germany and Austria, on November 9 1938, our community synagogues were illuminated. On November 9 2018 we choose to illuminate our synagogues to remember what happened 80 years ago.”
A number of events commemorating Kristallnacht’s 80th are taking place around the UK this week, in addition to several marking the 80th anniversary of the kindertransport, which saw the UK take in over 10,000 Jewish refugee children in the wake of the pogroms. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
In London, a Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope to remember Kristallnacht was due to take place at Westminster Abbey at 6.30pm.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9
The ‘Leave the lights on’ campaign — whereby shuls will commemorate Kristallnacht by leaving a light illuminated over Shabbat — will be adopted by synagogues around the country.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15
A commemoration organised by the Safe Passage movement and hosted by Lord Alf Dubs, who arrived to the UK on the kindertransport, will be held at Friends Meeting House in recognition of the pivotal role played by the Quakers in orchestrating the refugee trains.
The date marks the anniversary of the Quakers’ meeting on 15 November 1938 with the then Home Secretary in response to Kristallnacht.
Sir Nicholas Winton was instrumental in organising the rescue of thousands of children, mostly Jewish, from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20
On Tuesday 20 November a reception at St James’s Palace hosted by HRH Prince Charles will take part for around 100 kinder.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21
A reception will take place at The State Rooms, Speaker’s House, House of Commons. MPs will narrate excerpts from the debate which started on 21 November 1938 that led to the creation of the kindertransport.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2
World Jewish Relief will stage an event at Liverpool Street Station to mark the arrival of the first kindertransport train.