The Victoria Jewish community’s annual commemoration of Kristallnacht takes on new meaning this year after rising attacks on minority groups.
Every year the Victoria Shoah Project remembers Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) – a night that marked the beginning of attacks against European Jews and a precursor for the Holocaust. This year’s program, The Persistence of Creativity Emerging from the Shards of Tragedy, will be held via Zoom.
“In recent years we have seen the unfortunate growth of attacks on minority groups and those who are “the other,” says Peter J. Nadler of the Shoah Project. “This highlights the need for us to stand together to protect and safeguard all peoples, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation or other factors, which may make them targets of a hateful few.”
In March, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said COVID-19 is exacerbating xenophobia, hate and exclusion.
“Reports of Chinese and other Asians being physically attacked; of hate speech blaming minorities including Roma, Hispanics and others for the spread of the virus; and of politicians calling for migrants to be denied access to medical services, all show that States need to urgently emphasizes that the human rights of everyone, in particular of the most vulnerable and marginalized, must be protected,” said Fernand de Varennes, UN official on minority issues.
Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany and Austria in 1938 from Nov. 9 to 10. The event was named for the shattered windows of Jewish-owned properties and businesses. Roughly 100 Jewish people were killed and 30,000 were arrested and interned in concentration camps. The event signified a shift in the Nazi government’s approach to organized physical violence against the Jewish community.
Now, 82 years later, the Shoah Project asks the community to join in remembering the past and committing to take action “for a better future where we will respect and protect our neighbours, not remain silent in the face of any injustice against any person or group and work towards building bridges leading to unity and shalom (peace) in our own community and beyond.”
The commemoration of Kristallnacht is held Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The necessary links and passwords can be found online at victoriashoahproject.ca.
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