Throughout November, B’nai B’rith International held commemorations across Latin America to remember Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
In Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Uruguay, B’nai B’rith held remembrance programs marking the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht. In 1938, on Nov. 9 and 10, Nazis terrorized Jewish neighborhoods throughout Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia by vandalizing thousands of Jewish businesses, and burning and destroying more than a thousand synagogues.
For the last 22 years, B’nai B’rith Argentina has organized Kristallnacht memorial ceremonies, and this year’s event took place in Shoah Square. Argentina’s Jewish community, Human Rights office and Ministry of Culture office co-sponsored the event. Argentine Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj; Chief of Staff to President Macri Marcos Peña; Minister of Culture Pablo Avelluto and the famous writer Federico Andahazi all spoke at the event. Peña said: “Our government, we value symbols, history and the culture of the Jewish people, beyond circumstantial situations that some international offices may try to impose.” This is in reference to UNESCO voting on the Temple Mount resolutions, and was an important message in a very solemn commemoration.
B’nai B’rith Uruguay hosted 600 people on Nov. 9 for its memorial ceremony. Several key governmental officials attended the event, including President of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez. President of the Supreme Court of Justice Ricardo Perez Manrique gave the keynote address. Manrique spoke of how judges during the Nazi era violated all rules of law. He also talked about the importance of an independent judiciary in a democratic society. The event was broadcasted on seven television stations.
B’nai B’rith Chile and The Jewish Christian Confraternity organized a ceremony at a Lutheran church in Chile. Another commemoration was held at a local Hebrew school, with several diplomats in attendance.
In Cali, Colombia, B’nai B’rith and the Jewish community hosted a memorial event. An exhibit on the horrors of the Holocaust was on display, and Karen Kadoch, international law expert and professor, was the keynote speaker.
B’nai B’rith Costa Rica held a Kristallnacht commemoration ceremony at the synagogue of Centro Israelita Sionista, the largest Jewish communal institution in Costa Rica, on Nov. 23. The keynote speaker was Sonia Picado, chair of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.
The Yad Vashem Office in Panama and B´nai B´rith Panama presented a week of movies on the Shoah as a commemoration of Kristallnacht.