“Kristallnacht Aftermath: No Place for Us”
By Nancy Pettus and Jackie Hill
The Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education and the Tulsa City-County Library will commemorate the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht with the program: “Kristallnacht Aftermath: No Place for Us,” featuring The Rev. Dr. Mouzon Biggs Jr., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Charles Schusterman Jewish Community Center, Sylvan Auditorium, 2021 E. 71st St.
Kristallnacht, the event widely considered to be the beginning of the Holocaust, refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria and in areas of German-occupied Czechoslovakia. During Kristallnacht, 1,668 synagogues were ransacked and 267 burned; 7,500 Jewish business storefronts were shattered; roughly 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and deported; and 91 Jewish civilians were killed. This unprecedented act of violence against the Jews is also known as the “Night of Broken Glass” for the shards of broken glass that littered the streets of Jewish communities from buildings vandalized at the Nazis’ command.
The effect of Kristallnacht on Jews in German-occupied territory was far greater than the sum of damage to buildings and assaults on individual victims. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., “the violence of Kristallnacht served notice to German Jews that Nazi anti-Semitism was not a temporary predicament and would only intensify.” Consequently, many Jews attempted to escape from their native land, only to discover there was no place for them.
At the commemoration, Rev. Biggs, former pastor of Tulsa’s Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, will address the issues facing the Jews who fled after Kristallnacht. A chance encounter with two Jewish professors whose lives were drastically transformed by Kristallnacht altered the trajectory of Biggs’ life, which also set him on a lifelong journey.
Jenks High School drama students will perform a dramatic interpretation of the poem “I Am the Glass”, by Rabbi Karen Bender, and a student exhibit of Kristallnacht Art Contest entries will be on display. We welcome all to this free commemoration which is suitable for adults and youth in sixth grade and above.