Xavier commemorates Kristallnacht event with a display at Gallagher Student Center on Friday, Nov. 9

Visitors will be given glass shard lapel pins to remind people to listen | November 8, 2012

The University is commemorating Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass—that triggered the horrors of the Holocaust with a display in front of the Gallagher Student Center on Friday, Nov. 9. Members of the Xavier community and the public are invited to stop by in acknowledgement of the 74th anniversary of the night of terror for German and Polish Jews.

From 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., visitors may view the display and read the names of Holocaust victims. Visitors may also offer the names of those who died in other ignored tragedies around the world. Passersby will be given lapel pins made of shards of broken glass to wear to bring attention to the Night of Broken Glass.

The event is meant to raise awareness about historic tragedies that might have been prevented or mitigated if other nations had taken action, said Rabbi Abie Ingber, founding director of the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, which is sponsoring the display. He questions whether the events in Germany of 1939-1945 would have taken place had the global community listened to the sound of breaking glass and acted.

He was referring to the night of Nov. 9, 1938, when the Nazis orchestrated an attack against Jewish communities across Germany to destroy their property by breaking windows, burning synagogues and deporting thousands of Polish Jews. The Nazis viewed Kristallnacht as a test of the global community. When there was no reaction, they felt emboldened to proceed with what developed into the Holocaust.

“Glass is breaking even now in our midst,” he said. “Suicides of young gay students bullied to death, sexual violence against women, the issue of slavery in our modern world, the genocide of Darfur, are all examples of events which must be spoken out against. We must listen for the sounds of breaking glass and be aware of the destruction unfolding on our watch.”