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It's been 85 years since the devastation of Kristallnacht took place. Local voices reflect on what's changed, and what hasn't

Onlookers watch a smoldering synagogue the morning after Kristallnacht in Graz, Austria.
Courtesy of Queens University
/
Public Domain
Onlookers watch a smoldering synagogue the morning after Kristallnacht in Graz, Austria.

Thursday marks the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, known as the "Night of Broken Glass."

On Nov. 9 into Nov. 10, 1938, a wave of violence spread throughout Germany, annexed Austria and in areas of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops, when Adolf Hilted launched an attack on the Jewish people by destroying their homes and businesses.

Kristallnacht was the first instance where the Nazi regime incarcerated Jews on a massive scale. Jewish businesses were destroyed, synagogues were burned, and some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and deported to concentration camps.

Kristallnacht is seen as a turning point in the persecution of Jewish people. They were no longer protected by the police and left with the choice to try to stay in a country that wasn’t safe or to try to emigrate to a foreign land.

More than 80 years later, antisemitism continues to be an ongoing issue.

On Sunday, members of The Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University of Charlotte, are inviting the public to campus to unite as a community to remember this historic turning point and stand in solidarity against antisemitism, racism, hatred and intolerance.

We’ll hear more about the event, where things stand with antisemitism today, and hear an interview with Irving Bienstock, a survivor of Kristallnacht who lives in Charlotte.

Interview with Irving Bienstock
Charlotte Talks senior producer Sarah Delia spoke with Kristallnacht survivor Irving Bienstock about his memories from that day.

Irving Bienstock with his late wife Lillian in 2018.
Courtesy of Irving Bienstock and The Levine Jewish Community Center
Irving Bienstock with his late wife Lillian in 2018.

GUESTS:

Judy La Pietra, associate director of the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University of Charlotte.
Rabbi Judith Schindler, Sklut professor of Jewish Studies and the director of the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University of Charlotte.
Lauren Stark, Charlotte resident whose mother, Hanna Adler, is a Kristallnacht survivor.

Disclosure: Rabbi Judy Schindler is on WFAE's Board of Directors.

Stay Connected
Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.