Lights Lit In Synagogues In Memory Of Kristallnacht

Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar: “This light unites us and is the answer to those who would like to use fire as a force of destruction”

Synagogues around the world burned all night from Friday to Saturday to mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a dark chapter in human history of 20th-century, which many consider the starting point of the Holocaust.

In Russia, Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar called for ensuring that events such as pogroms or the Holocaust never happen again. “Today,” said Berel Lazar, “our synagogues are illuminated with the light of goodness and love. This light unites us and is the answer to those who use fire as a force of destruction.”

The Jewish community of Russia has been deeply shocked by recent demonstrations of anti-Semitism in Europe and particularly in France, where in Paris, on the night of November 1, the Star of David appeared, printed in blue paint on the white walls of several buildings, houses, shops, and credit institutions of the French capital, recalling in the historical memory of the people one of the darkest periods in European history.

“Even a small candle can dispel darkness, but at the same time its fire can be used for good or evil, like any other gift of the Lord,” said Berel Lazar. In turn, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Rabbi Alexander Boroda warned that the current situation requires “even more attention” to prevent a repetition of events such as pogroms and the Holocaust.

Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass, Crystal Night) was a brutal series of attacks carried out by the Nazis against Jews in Germany and Austria on November 9 and 10, 1938. This tragic event marked a turning point in the persecution of Jews by Adolf Hitler’s regime. “In just one night, the Nazis arrested more than 9 thousand Jewish men and boys,” Russian television Izvestia, which has been subject to new Canadian sanctions in recent days, reminded viewers. “What can you expect from a country that greets a Nazi criminal in parliament with applause,” commented Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the September 22 scandal that involved a 98-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslav Gunka, a former soldier of the German SS Galitzien division, who committed numerous atrocities during World War II, including the Guta Pieniacka massacre against Polish civilians and participation in the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

The “spark” that provoked the Jewish pogroms during Kristallnacht was the murder in Paris of Ernst von Rath, a German diplomat, by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan. This episode initiated a wave of violence orchestrated by the Nazi government against the Jewish community. On the night of November 9, 1938, synagogues in Germany and Austria were burned or destroyed, and many shops, businesses, credit institutions, and homes owned by Jews were looted. The violence quickly spread, as thousands of Jews were arrested, beaten, or killed. The streets were littered with broken glass, hence the name of the event.