Throughout November, B’nai B’rith International held commemorations across Latin America to remember Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
In Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Uruguay, B’nai B’rith held remembrance programs marking the 79th 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 23 years, B’nai B’rith Argentina has organized Kristallnacht memorial ceremonies, and this year’s events took place in two locations. First in the capital city, Buenos Aires, where Christians and Jews shared a solemn interfaith and remembrance event. And also in the Province of Parana, where the government, represented by the Secretary of Human Rights Claudio Avruj and the Minister of Education Rosario Romero, together with B´nai B´rith and local authorities, joined in a huge event in the main square of the capital city and inaugurated a special plaque for the remembrance of Kristallnacht. “This is a very important event in order to educate all generations the horrors of the Holocaust, the need to learn about them, and the commitment to fight against those who even today violate human rights,” Romero said.
B’nai B’rith Uruguay hosted 600 people on Nov. 16 for its memorial ceremony. The keynote speaker was the former Vice President of Costa Rica Rebeca Grynspan who is the secretary general of the Ibero American Conference, an international multilateral institution which brings together the 19 Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of Latin America plus Spain, Andorra and Portugal. The event was attended by the acting president of the country, Lucía Topolansky, former presidents Julio Sanguinetti and Luis Lacalle, ministers, ambassadors, commander in chief of the army, religious leaders, political leaders, Congressmen and the president of the Supreme Court of Justice. Grynspan made a strong speech on human rights and also underlined her personal history which she told the audience how a significant part of her family was slaughtered in the Shoah.
B’nai B’rith Chile and the Jewish Christian Confraternity organized a ceremony at the main Lutheran church in Chile. Another commemoration was held at the local Hebrew school, with several diplomats in attendance. The Israeli Ambassador Eldad Hayat was keynote speaker both times.
B’nai B’rith Costa Rica held a Kristallnacht commemoration ceremony at a huge theater and showed a screening of the documentary “The Night of the Broken Glass.”
B´nai B´rith Venezuela hosted in its hall in Caracas the commemoration of the Night of Broken Glass. The keynote speaker was the Rector of the Metropolitan University of Caracas Professor Benjamin Sharfiker.