It was the “Night of Broken Glass” in Germany, Kristallnacht — a national pogrom of death and destruction of Jewish property and the rounding up of Jews — and Dietrich (David) Hamburger was in hiding.
On the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, brown-shirted storm troopers torched and looted hundreds of synagogues and destroyed 7,500 Jewish businesses throughout Germany and Austria in what is known as Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass.”
The leader of an Austrian far-right political party was condemned for comparing protests by students in Vienna with the Nazi persecution of Jews during Kristallnacht.
A synagogue in eastern Belarus was vandalized for the second time.
I met Leon Weinstein, hale and hearty at 101, three months ago and listened to his dramatic recollections as a fighter and survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, one of the bravest chapters in modern Jewish history.
This is the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, and the first one I will mark without my father. Kristallnacht is referred to as the “night of broken glass.” But it was much more. It was the beginning of the end of most of European Jewry. It was two days of Nazi government-sponsored riots on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, in Germany and Austria. Reported numbers vary, but about 270 synagogues were burned, 7,000 businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed, and 100 Jews were killed. Between 26,000 and 30,000 Jews were arrested and deported to concentration camps. My father was one of them. A 16-year-old boy living in Niederstetten, Germany, he was arrested on November 10 and sent to Dachau.
It was Nov. 9 - Kristallnacht, the night of "broken glass" - when hundreds of Jewish businesses and virtually every synagogue throughout Germany and Austria were set ablaze. On that terrible night in 1938, my father, Sol, ran into a burning synagogue near his home in Vienna and rescued a Torah that would otherwise have been consumed by the flames. He and his brother, Morris Brafman, carried that Torah halfway around the world, ultimately bringing it to the United States, where it was restored and is currently in a yeshiva in Far Rockaway, Queens, N.Y., in an ark dedicated to the memory of my father and his wife of 55 years, my mother Rose.
The prosecutor reads the charges against God: murder, collaboration with the enemy, breach of contract with His chosen people. Setting: A barrack in Auschwitz, with some 20 Jewish prisoners, half of whom will be gassed in the morning.
"Vati, Vati," I call down. "If they take you, I'm going with you!" My mother has reached the door. As she opens it, she and the door are hurled against the wall. Nazis, half a dozen of them, with rifles, rush up the steps.
Father Michael Engh thinks it's only natural that a Catholic university host the citywide commemoration of Kristallnacht, which is marked by many historians as the beginning of the Holocaust.
Kristallnacht marked the end of Jewish life in Germany; a pivotal turning point in what later became known as the Holocaust. A generation is passing, but it is a generation that has left behind voluminous records, testimonies and memoirs, video recordings and diaries, letters and notes.
Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air hosted an unusual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the event that is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. Instead of focusing on mourning, the gathering last weekend was marked by raucous joy and a sense of reunification.
The central symbolism was provided by guest of honor Olga Grilli, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe as an 11-year-old. On Saturday, she saw once more and touched the Torah scroll from the shul of her Czechoslovakian hometown. She had last attended this temple as a child.
It was June 1, 1941, Shavuot, and over the next 48 hours, Muslim rioters killed approximately 180 Jews, injured 240 more, raped Jewish women and burned and looted 586 Jewish stores and homes.
In a watershed event for the California central coast's small Jewish community, the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation marked the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht by opening the city's first permanent Holocaust exhibit.
The opening shows just how far this small Jewish community has come.
A fresh outburst of anti-Semitic violence throughout France has Jewish leaders fearing the return of Kristallnacht.
The reference to the horrors of Nazi Germany, issued by French Jewish leader Jean Kahn, hit the French dailies, as police in Marseille were still investigating a fire that reduced a synagogue to ashes.
The incident punctuated a weekend of anti-Jewish aggression that included attacks on synagogues in Lyon and Strasbourg and a shooting at a kosher butcher shop near the southwestern city of Toulouse in which no one was injured.
In addition, a French Jewish couple was injured in a weekend attack in the southern part of the country.
Don't be misled by the play's title.
"After Crystal Night," a comedy-drama now at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles, is not a story about the November 1938 Nazi rampage. Not literally, anyway. The Kristallnacht connection is metaphorical; a reminder that what happened once in not-so-long-ago Nazi Germany could happen again if Jews grow too comfortable and passive -- even in America.