REMEMBERING KRISTALLNACHT - myfoxcarolinas.com

REMEMBERING KRISTALLNACHT

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CHARLOTTE - The night of November 9, 1938 was the date that historians point to as the start of the Holocaust. After a distraught Jewish teenager shot and killed a German diplomat in Paris, Nazi officials took to the radio telling people to "punish the Jews". It set off a night and day of violence that left thousands of Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues damaged or destroyed. More than 90 people were killed, and thousands of Jewish men taken off to concentration camps. The night became known as Kristallnacht - The Night of Broken Glass.

This past Sunday, Temple Israel in Charlotte held a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of that terrible night. Thousands showed up to keep the memory of that event alive, and to honor a group of survivors and concentration camp liberators who volunteer their time to tell the story of the Holocaust.

One of those honored was Charlottian Irving Bienstock. He was a 12-year-old boy living in Germany on Kristallnacht.

"I looked out the window and saw thousands of people in the street," he said. "I saw a small synagogue up the street on fire. Then the mob broke into our home. They started breaking plats, destroying furniture, tearing up our bedding. They beat up the men in the house."

Jessie Oxendine was an 18-year-old U.S. soldier who helped liberate the concentration camp at Wobbelin.

"When we got there, I didn't know what to expect. I had never heard of a concentration camp," he said. "What I saw, no 18-year-old should ever have to see."

As a show of solidarity, people from local churches and mosques also attended the event. The Motet Singers from the Myers Park Baptist Church performed during the ceremony.

When asked if the stories of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust need to still be told to prevent something like them from ever happening again, Bienstock's answer came quickly.

"Of course it has to be told. It could happen again. It's happening right now in places like Africa. It's happening today."
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