80th anniversary of Night of Broken Glass to be commemorated

Holocaust survivor to speak Tuesday
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Know and Go

What: Commemoration of 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Rocklin Event Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin

Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at door and free for students

Nov. 9 to 10, 1938 is remembered as Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, in Germany.

During this time, members of the Nazi party’s Sturmabteilung or Storm Detachment, carried out a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany. Pogrom has several meanings but most commonly refers to the deliberate persecution of an ethnic or religious group that is condoned by local authorities.

On Kristallnacht, the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were smashed while German authorities looked on.

Rabbi Yitzchat Wagner and Margot Goldberg will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Rocklin Event Center to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass. Chabad Jewish Community Center of Placer County sponsors Tuesday’s event.

Goldberg, a Palo Alto resident, is a Holocaust survivor and Wagner recently opened the first synagogue in Krefield, Germany since the Holocaust.

Goldberg, a girl during Kristallnacht, said her strongest memory of the night was that of her father and grandfather being taken away.

“I saw them again. My grandfather was released after a few days because he was well-known in the community and was in his 80s,” Goldberg said. “My father, among the first to be released, was gone for six weeks. He had standing in the community and was a veteran of World War I.”

Goldberg said the Nazis had trouble finding enough people to break into her family’s house in Dusseldorf.

“It was 4 a.m. before they broke into our house and they were considerate, in some ways. My grandfather was a great philanthropist and my father followed in his footsteps,” Goldberg said. “Not everybody was supportive (of the Nazis) and there were others in the community who tried to be good to us.”

Eight months later, in June 1939, Goldberg’s parents sent her to school in England.

“My parents were deported in September of 1942 and lived in a camp for several months, under difficult circumstances, until they were murdered,” Goldberg said. “My grandfather was sent to a camp and died after six days under horrible circumstances. My grandmother had a stroke during Kristallnacht and died a year later. We had a huge family and very few survived.”

Goldberg did not learn of her parents’ fate until 1945.

Wagner, the first rabbi in Krefeld, Germany in 70 years, said he will talk about the rebuilding of German Jewry after the Holocaust.

“We’re mainly dealing with Russian Jews,” Wagner said. “Not many German Jews who survived the Holocaust returned. When the Iron Curtain fell, Jews in Russia were free to leave and many came to Germany.”

Rabbi Yossi Korik, Chabad of Placer County director, said Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Nazis’ formal attack on the Jewish people in Germany.

“Tuesday is a special event honoring and remembering that awful, tragic night,” Korik said. “This is an opportunity for the people of Placer County to understand, learn and remember. Many stores, homes and synagogues were destroyed that night.”

“It’s not like the Germans were an uneducated society,” Korik said. “German society was one of the most sophisticated and advanced societies at the time.”