Today marks the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the "Night of Broken Glass.” On November 9, 1938, Nazi soldiers terrorized the Jewish populations of Germany and Austria, creating a culture of fear, paranoia, and hatred before the eventual horrific genocide of over six million Jews. That evening, the Nazis took the lives of 91 people -- burned down synagogues, looted Jewish-owned stores, and destroyed homes -- but they also shattered the lives of hundreds of thousands.
American Jewish Congress (AJ Congress) co-founder, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise warned the world about the impending dangers of Naziism in the early 1930’s; and the AJ Congress took the lead in lobbying the American government to accept Jewish immigrants from war-torn Europe throughout World War II. But to no avail.
No one could have predicted what would come to follow Kristallnacht at the time of that reprehensible evening. The Nazi’s hateful rhetoric and treatment of Jews is now, unfortunately, seared into the memories of everyone in the world as we know it, and has undoubtedly altered the course of history in numerous ways.
While we take tonight to mourn those lost on this evening 77 years ago, as well as every other person who lost their life to Hitler’s monstrous regime, we must also pay respect to those who have lost their lives to anti-Semitism in the years since.