Jerusalem, November 9, 2021 - On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis organized for the murder of Jews and the burning of 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions in Germany and Austria as part of the Kristallnacht pogrom. This event is one of the seminal moments that led to the Holocaust. To mark this historical event and to stand in protest to the rise of antisemitic incidents and hate crimes around the world, International March of the Living launched the ‘Let There Be Light’ global initiative in which individuals, institutions, and houses of worship of all faiths leave their lights on during the night of November 9, as a symbol of mutual responsibility and the shared struggle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance.
The buildings displaying the initiative include the Jewish Community building in Paris located in Jerusalem Square, Thessaloniki City Hall, the Great Synagogue in Budapest, the Great Synagogue in Warsaw, and the Old City Walls in Jerusalem.
A formal ceremony was held at the Old City Walls in Jerusalem. At the event, three Holocaust survivors who witnessed Kristallnacht as children were honored; Carol Kinderman, Uri Eshed and Tirza Halivni. The survivors attended the ceremony with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett: “Many years have passed since we needed the kindness of others to protect us from a cruel tyrant who massacred our people. Today, the Jewish People is the sovereign power in our historic homeland, a strong and prosperous state that, with its own strength, defends itself. We will never again entrust our destiny to others. We will always be vigilant and defend ourselves, the eternal people, in Jerusalem our eternal capital. ‘Am Yisrael Chai.’”
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid, son of a Holocaust survivor: "History proves that you can kill Jews, but not the Jewish idea. You can shatter synagogue windows, but you can't shatter the spirit behind them.” Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Dr. Nachman Shai: "Tonight, 83 years to Kristallnacht, the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, sparkle with pride - illuminated by the bravery of Holocaust survivors and their families. I am here today because my family survived the Holocaust, and as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, I am excited to take part in this special project. A little light repels much of the darkness."
European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism Katherina Von Schnurbein said: “Eighty-three years after the Pogrom, antisemitism is on the rise, attacks on Jews are still a reality. The European Union is united and determined to roll back antisemitism through words and action and ensure safety for all Europeans, regardless of their religion or belief, ethnic identity or skin color.”
Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas noted, “The City of Thessaloniki participates in the global initiative ‘Let There Be Light’ of the International March of the Living, honoring the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust and especially of the 50,000 innocent Jews of Thessaloniki, 20% of our city’s population in 1943, who were deported and annihilated in the Nazi concentration camps. We do not forget. On the occasion of the 83rd anniversary of the Kristallnacht, we reaffirm our unwavering conviction in the fight against antisemitism and all forms of hatred. For a more humane, more compassionate, a brighter world.”
Poland’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Michael Schudrich noted, “A Jew remembers. In Judaism we have the commandment, the Mitzvah, to ‘remember what Amalek did to you’. This is a resolute demand for all generations. Many lessons can be learned from the Holocaust and the revival from the ashes. Perhaps the most important message is unity. You just have to be together; you have to help each other. There is no obligation to agree with every Jew. But there is a duty to help every Jew. Remember Kristallnacht and all the devastation that comes after that evening and remember that you must be 'one people, with one heart.'”
Phyllis Greenberg Heideman & Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, President & Chairman of the International March of the Living said, “The International March of the Living organization has devoted itself to Holocaust education and the fight against antisemitism. Tonight, as we mark 83 years since Kristallnacht, we call on the world to stop, even for a moment, to remember the horrors of the past and to put up a bright warning sign against the antisemitism that still shamelessly raises its head. We congratulate the European countries that are taking part in the "Let There Be Light" initiative to clearly remember the past and in support of the common struggle against antisemitism. We will continue to work to ensure that Never Means Never.”