Marking 84 years since "Kristallnacht / the November Pogrom” the International March of the Living is launching its third interfaith campaign of unity to remember Kristallnacht under the banner, “Let There Be Light”. The campaign is aiming to commemorate the past but also to raise awareness about the current atmosphere of intolerance, prejudice and racism that exists in the world today, by participating in a public educational effort that will be joined by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
On November 9-10, 1938, hundreds of synagogues were burned across Germany and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses were damaged or destroyed by Nazi vandals during the infamous Kristallnacht pogroms. Approximately 100 Jews were murdered and around 30,000 more were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, marking an ominous turning point in history, and a key juncture in the evolution of the Holocaust, the mass genocide of the Jews carried by Nazi Germany during WWII.
The ‘Let There Be Light’is a global initiative in which individuals, institutions, and houses of worship of all faiths leave a symbolic light on during the night of November 9, as a symbol of mutual responsibility and the shared struggle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance.
This year, the International March of the Living together with its partners - the Nieshlos Foundation; Crossroad of Civilizations Museum at the UAE, Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM); META; the Jewish Community of Vienna, and the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience at Rutgers University - will mark the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht with commemorative events in Jerusalem, Vienna and in Dubai, the first event of its kind in the Arab & Islamic world.
In Vienna, March of the Living takes part in the “Light of Hope” march organized by the Jewish Youth of Vienna. The march will be concluded by a commemoration ceremony. Oskar Deutsch, the head of the Jewish community in Austria said:
"The Pogroms of 1938 revealed the destructive potential of Antisemitism and mark the beginning of the expulsion, expropriation, and mass murder of Jews all over Europe. The pogroms and the Shoah were the result of centuries of Jew hatred. These days, our diverse and open societies need to be vigilant and determined to fight Antisemitism to enable Jewish communities to prosper".
It makes me proud to see the self-confidence of our youth as they are taking to the streets of Vienna to remember the November pogroms of 1938 and successfully mobilizing so many more youth organizations to join them in their common cause for a society free of Antisemitism and hate. This event shows that we will remain a vocal part of society with many allies to protect our open, diverse, and democratic society".
Michel Gourary, Director of the European March of the Living said, "I am deeply moved to march on this ‘Kristallnacht’ commemoration in the streets of Vienna following the steps of my grandfather who lived in this city, who was a direct witness of the Pogrom of November 1938 and who had to suffer the horrible Nazi persecutions and harassments as so many other Jews in those streets of Vienna until he managed to escape to Riga in Latvia, in January 1939. He was a labor slave in several concentration camps until he was shot dead in April 1945. He lived through the war until he was shot dead in 1945 on the roadside on his second death march to Dachau camp.
I am bearing his name and that’s my legacy. That’s the reason why am so committed to promote the March of the Living, the largest Holocaust educational program of its kind".
"I would like to salute our young marchers and alumni of MoRaH, the March of Remembrance and Hope of Austria. They represent some 6,000 of their comrades who already participated in the Annual March of the Living until now. And together with them, we will be united to shed a light of hope over the darkness of hate, racism and antisemitism".
In Jerusalem a moving ceremony will take place in which Holocaust survivors who witnessed Kristallnacht, Walter Bingham and David Cycowicz, will be honored, as messages of hope from around the world will be projected onto the walls of the old city. Performing artist Shuli Rand will close the ceremony with a song.
In Dubai a unique and historic event to be held on November 9th 2022, at the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum in Dubai, Holocaust Survivor Eve Kugler (91) will tell the story of her survival and experience during the Holocaust to an audience in the United Arab Emirates. The event at the UAE at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, founded by H.E. Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori, will stand as the inaugural event of the new March of the Living Chapter in the Gulf, together with MOTL Ambassador in the Gulf, Eitan Neishlos.