“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
More than 1000 members of the general public attended the annual commemoration of the 1938 November Pogrom, held at Toronto’s Beth Tzedec synagogue on 9 November.
Doris L. Bergen, Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto, presented an insightful lecture titled Kristallnacht Then and Now which explored some of the less familiar aspects of the November Pogrom. Bergen addressed the questions of: What happened to Jews in small towns and rural areas? What about Jewish inhabitants of the Sudetenland, annexed by Nazi Germany just months earlier? On the night of 9 November 1938, some 25,000 German Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. What do we know about their fates and the impact on their families? In keeping with the theme of collaboration, special attention will be paid to the role played during the pogrom by non-Jewish Germans and Austrians, as well as non-Jewish inhabitants of the Sudetenland: schoolteachers, police, Christian clergy, and neighbours.
The programme also marked the official closing the 34th annual Holocaust Education Week, presented by the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. It included a candle-lighting ceremony commemorating the 76th anniversary of the pogrom and a special tribute to the memory of Elizabeth Comper, who, together with her husband Tony, was among the first Lead Benefactors of Holocaust Education Week.
The Beth Tzedec Reuben and Helene Dennis Museum also featured a special display of treasures of Jewish life that were rescued before and after 9 November 1938.
Photo credit: Michael Rajzman / Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre