Echoes & Reflections Invites Educators, Students to Commemorate Kristallnacht

Fri, 10/29/2021 - 10:08am

November 9 and 10 marks the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”) pogrom, the first major public and government-sanctioned display of antisemitic violence against Jews in Germany.

Orchestrated by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of a German embassy official in Paris by a seventeen-year-old Jewish youth named Herschel Grynzspan, 1,400 synagogues and 7,000 businesses were destroyed, almost 100 Jews were killed, and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht presents a unique teachable moment. This year, Echoes & Reflections, a partnership program of three world leaders in education—ADL, USC Shoah Foundation and Yad Vashem—is providing educators with a range of resources to help students learn about Kristallnacht and the Holocaust and reflect on the dangers of remaining silent in the face of hate.

A key activity focuses on the Visual History Archive testimony of Jewish Holocaust Survivor Kurt Messerschmidt, who reveals his harrowing experience of viewing mobs attacking Jews in the street, in their homes, and at their places of worship, while many of his fellow German neighbors and friends stood idly by.

Students can download a handout which encourages them to respond to the prompt “I will not be silent in the face of…” and then post photos of the completed handouts on their social media channels. Suggested tags are @echoesandreflections on Facebook, @echoesreflect on Twitter, @echoesreflections on Instagram, and the suggested hashtag is #SilenceHarms.

Other educational assets include a poster series featuring Kurt’s powerful words, a series of classroom activities, and a special webinar on 11/9 at 10 AM PT to explore the lessons of the Kristallnacht pogromRegister here.


USC Shoah Foundation