Poland joins March of the Living initiative commemorating Kristallnacht

International March of the Living launched the ‘Let There Be Light’ global initiative in which individuals, institutions and houses of worship leave their lights on during the night of November 9.

 Rabbi Michael Schudrich. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Rabbi Michael Schudrich.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis organized 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 events and hate crimes, 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.

In addition to the screening on Great Synagogue in Warsaw (Nożyków), messages from around the world, will be projected on the Thessaloniki City Hall, the Old City Walls in Jerusalem, the Great Synagogue in Budapest, and the Jewish community building in Jerusalem Square in Paris.

President of Israel, Isaac Herzog welcomed the initiative and commented that, "Among the horrors of the Holocaust, a central and painful place is reserved for Kristallnacht, the terrible pogrom against the Jews of Germany and Austria that symbolizes the turning point in the extermination of European Jewry. The night of Kristallnacht heralded the crossing of a fateful line, the signal to relinquish all restraint. In one night, an underlying sentiment of antisemitism, became the overt expression of the many. We are all committed to fighting and uprooting every incarnation of antisemitism. We will continue to do all we can to remember, memorialize, and ensure that such horrific events are a thing of the past, and the past alone".

European Commission Coordinator on combatting Antisemitism Katherina Von Schnurbein said, “Eighty-three years after Pogrom night antisemitism is on the rise, attacks on Jews, are still a reality. The European Union is united and determined roll back antisemitism through words and action and ensure safety for all Europeans, regardless of their religion or belief, ethnic identity or skin color”.

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.'"

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of March of the Living (Credit: Olivier Fitoussi)Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of March of the Living (Credit: Olivier Fitoussi)

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of 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. I 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.”