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2018 Kristallnacht Commemoration at The Colonial Theatre

On Thursday, November 8, at 7 pm, city and local leaders will join the Keene community for the annual Kristallnacht Commemoration at The Colonial Theatre. “Hope and prevention” is the message as we stand with survivors of Kristallnacht and make a conscious choice not to forget.

The Keene community has become a model for other communities regarding Kristallnacht Commemoration. Tom White, Coordinator of Educational Outreach at the Keene State College Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies program and a commemoration developer, said he and others are fortunate to have support and engagement from the community.

With an accepting and unique leadership in this community, White said NH State Senator Jay Kahn, Keene Mayor Kendall Lane, Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard,  Keene Police Captain Steven Stewart, Elsa Worth of the Keene Interfaith Clergy Association, and Henry Knight from the KSC Cohen Center will all be in attendance. “It is quite unique to have these leaders publicly stand up to declare that they will not forget and that their work now is informed by the knowledge of what happened then,” said White.

Kristallnacht occurred on November 9, 1938. The pogrom, or anti-Semitic violence and attacks against Jewish communities, planned by Adolf Hitler’s Chief of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, was carried out by the Nazi party’s “security apparatus.” 267 synagogues were burned or destroyed, 7,500 Jewish businesses were vandalized or looted, and at least 91 Jews were killed. There was extensive damage done to Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as well while countless German citizens, police officers and fire brigades stood by and did nothing to protect them. Jews were penalized after Kristallnacht for the violence inflicted upon them and were held responsible by insurance companies to pay for all of the damage to their properties and synagogues.  

Throughout the evening, the community will hear from relatives of Holocaust survivors, who serve as a reminder of why these stories should be remembered. Victims of genocide and discrimination will also be commemorated. The evening will include performances from the Keene Middle School Choir and MOCO Arts dancers.

As the event ends, White said, “…one generation will light a candle and pass it to a younger generation who will lead the community from the theatre in silence, reflecting on not only the plight of others but also on how we might be able to prevent discrimination and violence in our community in the future.”

In a time where the world still sees inflicted violence and discrimination against groups of people, there is no better opportunity for the Keene community to come together and remember. “The commemoration asks the community to live as better people informed by what is at stake,” said White.

“Memory can inspire us to be a spark of light, of hope, in our world,” said White.

Please join The Colonial Theatre on Thursday, November 8 at 7:00 pm, as we come together to remember, to create, and move forward as a community. This event is free and open to all.

Join us for Kristallnacht Commemoration

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College and The Colonial Theatre will host Keene’s annual Kristallnacht Commemoration at 7 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre on Main Street in Keene.

The event, free and open to the public, seeks to bring the area community together to bear witness, reflect, and consider our responsibilities for each other in a democratic society in which respect and justice thrive.

 After more than five years of growing Nazi power and persecutions, the Kristallnacht pogrom was unleashed against Germany’s Jews on the evening of Nov. 9, 1938. Although portrayed as a “spontaneous” action, the pogrom was planned well in advance by Nazi leaders who were seeking to create a Germany that was Judenfrei (free of Jews).

1938 had seen an intensified focus in anti-Jewish measures. The Nazis experimented with ways to “solve” the so-called “Jewish question,” expropriate Jewish possessions and finalize plans for a European war of “race and space.” Kristallnacht was public and interpersonal. Not all Germans condoned the events, but few were surprised and many “bystanders” took part or benefited.

In 1938-39, persecuted Jews in Europe found fewer avenues of escape and safe haven as borders were sealed against refugees. Despite President Roosevelt’s public condemnation of the November pogrom, a Roper poll revealed that 77 percent of Americans rejected allowing larger numbers of German Jewish refugees into the country. One congressman later suggested deporting “every alien in the U.S.”

In retelling this history our goal is not to merely recognize that evil exists in the world. Instead, we challenge ourselves to do more, to be better people; to recognize what is at stake: How do refugees, fearing for their lives, inform us and challenge our humanity in thought and deed? How do we embrace diversity and build peace in challenging times? How do we wrestle with core values of democratic citizenship? How can we interrupt the processes of genocide?

This year’s commemoration will include community participants such as the mayor, police and fire chiefs; Keene State College and Keene Middle School students; Keene’s Interfaith Clergy Association; MoCo Arts dancers; members of three Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs; a child survivor of the Holocaust; and candles of memory and hope. A private, edited showing of the new film “Über Leben” (“Survivor”) and an excerpt from the children’s opera “Brundibar” will be performed.

This annual community event seeks to inspire students and other citizens to take responsibility for promoting human dignity and civic responsibility while confronting the escalating violence that leads to atrocity and genocide.

Please join us for this hourlong commemoration.

THOMAS WHITE
Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

VICKY PITTMAN
The Colonial Theatre

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War

A Documentary film produced by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky

FREE

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War is the account of a daring rescue mission that occurred on the precipice of World War II. It tells the previously untold account of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, an American minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who left their children behind in the care of their parish and boldly committed to a life-threatening mission in Europe. Over two dangerous years they helped save scores of imperiled Jews and refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe. 

The 90-minute documentary is directed by Artemis Joukowsky, III and legendary filmmaker Ken Burns serves as Producer, Executive Producer and Presenter of the project. Tom Hanks and humanitarian Marina Goldman are the featured actors in the film, lending their voices to Waitstill and Martha Sharp. The film premieres on PBS Sept 20, 2016 along with a companion book by the same name. 

A Co-Production of NO LIMITS MEDIA, Inc. and Florentine Films, in association with WETA, Washington, DC. A film by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, III. Produced by Matthew Justus and Ken Burns. Learn more about the film at defyingthenazis.org. Film:  90 minutes, talk-back 20 minutes

For more information and to view the film trailor:  http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/defying-the-nazis-the-sharps-war/home/

Sponsored by the Keene State College Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

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