March of the Living launches global initiative to mark Kristallnacht

On November 9, 1938, the Nazis burned more than 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions in Germany and Austria on ‘Kristallnacht’ (The Night of Broken Glass), a critical moment in the chain of events that led to the Holocaust.

On November 9, 2020, March of the Living will mark the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht with a message of unity and hope through a unique international campaign. Entitled “Let There Be Light,” March of the Living will invite individuals, institutions, and houses of worship around the world to keep their lights on during the night of November 9 as a symbol of solidarity and mutual commitment in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance.

As part of this virtual initiative, people from all over the world will be able to add their voices to the campaign. Individuals of all religions and backgrounds are invited to write personal messages of hope in their own words at the campaign website: www.motl.org/let-there-be-light .

The main synagogue in Frankfurt (one of the few synagogues not destroyed on Kristallnacht) will be illuminated as well, as will other places of religious and spiritual significance across the world.  Personal messages and prayers from the virtual campaign will be projected on the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Against the backdrop of rising antisemitism, racism, and the shadow of Covid-19, these individual expressions of optimism and unity will help illuminate the world against darkness and hatred. The “Let There Be Light” project of the March of the Living is being done in collaboration with the Miller Center for Community Protection & Resilience at Rutgers University, and the Jewish community of Frankfurt.

March of the Living President Phyllis Greenberg Heideman & March of the Living World Chair Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, said: “We must use our voices to tell the world that attacks on Jews and non-Jews alike, whether on the basis of religion, race, color or creed are inexcusable. In the days when synagogues and holy places for various religions are attacked on a regular basis all over the world, it is our duty to speak out loudly and clearly.”

Head of the Jewish Community Frankfurt am Main, Prof. Dr. Salomon Korn said: “Antisemitism and racism threaten our society as a whole, and they endanger our values and our democracy. Together we want to send a signal against the increase of antisemitism and hate-speech all over the world. We want to raise awareness against growing discrimination and intolerance and bring the light of humanity in these difficult times.”

John Farmer, Director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, at the Miller Center: “Kristallnacht marked a fundamental turning point in the historical movement from culturally based antisemitism to state-sanctioned genocide.  On November 9, 1938, the antisemitic propaganda to which the Jewish population had been subjected for years was transformed to open violence, sanctioned by the state. Commemorating that dark day in human history is particularly significant today, as the hatred that has been rising over social media has begun erupting into violence against the Jewish and other faiths.  It is imperative that such darkness be refuted by light:  the light that will shine on houses of worship throughout the world tonight, and the light of truth that shames all forms of hatred.”

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