On the 79th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

On November 9, the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Keith Krivitzky, CEO, The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, issued the following message addressing the recent wave of anti-Semitism and acts of hate in the heart of New Jersey, and what you can do to combat bigotry and foster community. 


I want to share some highlights of what happened this week:

  • A sign draped on an overpass saying: “End Jewish Control of America” with a link to the Daily Stormer web site
  • Graffiti on someone’s lawn in Highland Park reading: “Smelly Jew F&*#” with a swastika and a middle finger
  • Swastikas discovered at Rutgers University and Monmouth University
  • Bomb threats and other threats at Jewish institutions in the NY metro area
  • A last minute cancellation of the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel at Princeton University
  • Concerns about the appointment of a former Syrian government official at Rutgers University to teach a course on: “International Criminal Law and Anti-Corruption”
  • The need for a rally against hate at the JCC in Middlesex County following racist flyers against Asians and Indians in Edison.

Flashback to 1938, Germany.

This night was called Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” – which began a wave of vandalism and attacks against Jewish businesses, organizations and homes.  This presaged the horror of the Third Reich.

I am not saying the situation in the United States today is like it was then.  We should be proud of our democracy, even though at times many might question the outcomes.

But we should all be concerned about the rise in hatred and bigotry in our neighborhoods and schools.  And the lesson from 1938 should be that we need to be vigilant and proactive in responding to such incidents and saying: HATE HAS NO HOME IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

That is why I am writing this note and why it is important to acknowledge this day.

Here are some things you can do to mark the day and make a difference:

  • Learn about Kristallnacht:  https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/kristallnacht
  • Visit the new permanent exhibit opening this Sunday at the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education – one of our local partners which plays a lead role in educating about tolerance and combating hate:  www.chhange.org
  • Support the educational work of the Jewish Federation – which helps instill pride in our youth – and which plays a leading role in responding to such issues and incidents.  www.jewishheartnj.org/donate


Keith Krivitzky


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