Community to commemorate Kristallnacht anniversary

Sergio Carmona

Sun Sentinel

Nov 7, 2013

Kristallnacht signaled the beginning of the Holocaust.

On the nights of Nov. 9-10, 1938, more than 1,400 Jewish-owned shops and synagogues in Germany and Austria were destroyed and set on fire as the streets were also filled with shattered glass.

The local community will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht through different events. One event is the annual observance sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, a committee of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10. This free program will take place at the Holocaust Memorial, 1933-1945 Meridian Ave. in Miami Beach. In case of rain, the program will take place at nearby Temple Emanu-El, 1701 Washington Ave.

It will feature addresses, poetry readings, musical performances and remembrances. Wendy Reiss Rothfield, the program's chair, will provide her eyewitness testimony of her family's escape from Vienna, Austria, during the Anschluss, the union between Germany and Austria that transpired before Kristallnacht in 1938.

"The reason I'm doing it [eyewitness testimony] is because for the last 20 years, I have always found an adult survivor of Kristallnacht, an eyewitness, and there are no more -- so I'm the one," Rothfield said. "I was a toddler at that time. However, I certainly recall and know the ramifications and all the trauma that I experienced and my parents experienced during those horrific times."