The Holocaust Museum Miami Beach held a special event in remembrance of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, on Nov. 9, the anniversary of the event.
Herbert Karliner, Miami-Beach resident and Holocaust survivor, was 13 when his family’s grocery store was destroyed during Kristallnacht. He was set to speak at the event, joined by Yad Vashem scholar Sheryl Ochayon.
Mr. Karliner and Ms. Ochayon joined us on Wednesday’s edition of Sundial.
Kristallnacht began Nov. 9 and 10, 1938. It was a well-organized event carried out by SA paramilitary forces. German authorities looked on without intervening as Jewish houses, businesses and synagogues were ransacked and destroyed. Close to 100 people were murdered and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
Herbert Karliner’s family grocery store was destroyed during the Kristallnacht. His family was forced to leave. They were on the MS St Louis, an ocean liner that arrived in Cuba before being turned away and had to return to Europe.
Prior to Kristallnacht, Jews were marginalized by Hitler and his anti-Semitic regime beginning in 1933. Jews could not practice their occupations and were isolated from the German society. In 1935, the implementation of the Nuremberg laws stripped the Jews from their German citizenship and officially made them second-class residents.
“Kristallnacht was the turning point because that was the night that everything becomes violent,” said Ochayon. “Before that night, people were not arrested because they were Jewish, they were arrested if they were political opponents of Hitler. On that night, 30,000 men were arrested for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish.”
Ochayon is a Yad Vashem scholar whose work focuses on training teacher how to teach the Holocaust to students of all levels.
Karliner, who volunteered at the Holocaust Memorial for more than 20 years, shared his experience with school groups and other visitors.
“Watch out if somebody with anti-Semitism comes. If you don't, it will become bigger and bigger and you will suffer in life like I did,” Karliner warned the students.
You can hear the conversation on Wednesday’s Edition of Sundial.