WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – It was a night of music, dance, and prayers in different languages commemorating 85 years since Kristallnacht, known as the Night of Broken Glass.
Kristallnacht was the two nights in 1938 when Nazis unleashed terror on the Jewish people by breaking windows in synagogues, Jewish homes and businesses at the start of the Holocaust.
Dr.Leon Chameides was only three years old at the time.
“My maternal grandfather was arrested on Kristallnacht and sent to the concentration camp,” Chameides said. “At that time, people could still buy their way out, and he eventually was bought out.”
Chameides said years later, he was left in an orphanage and hidden as a Ukrainian child.
“Left home when I was seven years old,” Chameides. “I was hidden from the Germans during the war, and my brother and I were the only survivors in our family.”
Nov. 12 marked the 22nd annual Kristallnacht service in West Hartford.
Rabbi Donna Berman, executive director of Charter Oak Cultural Center, says the night is about ending all violence and hate.
“It’s about what happened in 1938, but it’s also how hate continues in our world today and how we have to be vigilant and stand up for what is right,” Berman said.
The service ended with an outdoor candlelight ceremony.
Those in attendance were left with a glass prism, which symbolized wholeness, instead of broken glass.