The words of Sofoni Herz, an educator at the Jewish orphanage in Dinslaken, Germany, written on 10 November 1938, words that capture the horror of Kristallnacht:
Morning, 5.45. The insistent ringing of the doorbell in the early morning hours quickly woke me up. I threw on an overcoat and, suspecting the worst, opened the door to the building. Three men (two Gestapo agents and a police officer) came in and immediately declared that they had to undertake a search for weapons in the orphanage, as in all Jewish homes. The officials immediately went about their task…In the office, the telephone line was cut, boxes checked and cash searched for. In a moment when he was not being observed, (one of the Gestapo officers) whispered in my ear: “All the Jewish men in the city were arrested last night. Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to you!” After searching for about twenty minutes without finding anything at all, the Gestapo officers left, tell me: “No one must leave the building before ten o’clock this morning. All the blinds on the street side must remain closed. After ten, it will all be over.” (From The Night of Broken Glass, Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht)
As we know, it was not over at ten o’clock that morning.
Join us tonight in the sanctuary or online as I share the rest of Herz’s powerful story as we mark 83 years since Kristallnacht, the violent pograms that spread through Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia on November 9 and 10, 1938. During these pograms, 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes, and schools were ransacked, 91 Jews were murdered and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.