Montreal community to commemorate 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

A synagogue burns during Kristallnacht in 1938.

The Montreal community will be gathering 5 p.m Sunday Nov. 11 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Kristallnacht committee of the Montreal Holocaust Museum (MHM) announced.

The annual event, which remembers the Nazi-organized pogrom against the Jewish population of Germany and Austria that is also known as The Night of Broken Glass, takes place at the MHM, 5151 Côte Ste. Catherine. Kristallnacht, the Nazi reaction to the killing of a German diplomat in Paris in 1938, is generally seen as a precursor to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed.

Also in attendance will be Holocaust survivors, and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir.

The MHM pointed out that the Kristallnacht ceremony is taking place the same day as Remembrance Day.

“Given the additional significance of the day, Willie Glaser, a World War II veteran, Holocaust survivor and Kristallnacht witness will light a commemorative candle and present his video testimony,” an MHM advisory says. “Willie was born in Fuerth, Germany and was 17 years old when he witnessed Kristallnacht in Munich. On that same day, he returned to his hometown, and saw the destruction of several synagogues and the terrorizing of Jewish people. One week before the outbreak of the war, he obtained a visa and fled to Belfast, Northern Ireland. He volunteered for the 1st Polish Armoured Division in 1941. His six-year military career saw him participate in the Normandy landings as well as the liberation of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.”

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