City Tech Commemorates Kristallnacht: 80 Years After and 30 Years Beyond

On this 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we not only remember the incomparable genocide of Jews on the night of November 9,  1938, but also reflect on the varied means of telling the stories of its survivors and witnesses, and express deep concern for the future of this tragic history.

On November 7, 2018, at noon, the New York City College of Technology’s (City Tech) Jewish Faculty & Staff Association (JFSA) will host its 30th Kristallnacht anniversary program in the College’s Atrium Amphitheater, 300 Jay Street. The program will feature Suzanne Loebl, a Belgian hidden child, who will receive the City Tech JFSA Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding efforts in preserving the Holocaust’s history. Moreover, philanthropist Edith Everett will receive the Distinguished Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian efforts throughout the years. The Consul General of Belgium, Mrs. Cathy Buggenhout, will also attend in honor of both women’s remarkable lives.

Albert Sherman, JFSA President and longtime City Tech staff member noted, “There are few public programs at the College that endure actively for 30 years. This is a testament to the dedication of the JFSA community for three decades.”

As time passes, the question of how to remember the Holocaust increases in importance. Now well into the 21st century, we have many books, films, and much theater, music and other media to keep the story of this tragedy alive. Nevertheless, most impactful of all are the survivor testimonies, which are paramount in telling personal history and preserving memories. These become increasingly urgent as every day the survivor community diminishes in numbers. They are also that much more significant amidst the rise in heinous hate crimes we have seen of late.

JFSA Program Director, Dr. James Goldman, reflects, “This anniversary in itself is significant, and more so every year with fewer survivors and witnesses remaining to tell and share their stories. Furthermore, these stories are now even timelier with the rise of antisemitism throughout the world, as we have seen in this weekend’s massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh.”

During the commemoration, there will be a screening of 116 Cameras, a film about Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss, who embarks on a project to preserve her memories via an interactive hologram that will tell her story forever. The screening will encourage the audience to contemplate the ways in which such stories will be preserved and told in years to come.

In past years, City Tech has welcomed many distinguished and celebrated speakers through the College’s JFSA Distinguished Speakers Series. Prominent speakers such as Daniel Libeskind, Edwin Schlossberg, Pete Hamill and Menachem Rosensaft have honored the College with timely and inspiring words and greetings during City Tech’s Kristallnacht anniversary programs in November.

Some of this year’s co-sponsors include Brooklyn Historical Society, Hidden Child Foundation/ADL, Interfaith Committee of Remembrance (ICOR), Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Remember the Women Institute, New York Board of Rabbis, City Tech Foundation, and City Tech Faculty Commons.

City Tech’s Kristallnacht 80th anniversary program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact JFSA Program Director, Dr. James Goldman, at jgoldman270@hotmail.com.