(Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 2018)--B’nai B’rith International has held commemorations across Latin America to remember Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
In Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay, B’nai B’rith held programs marking the 80th anniversary of the Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, Nazi terror against Jewish neighborhoods throughout Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia. Nazis vandalized thousands of Jewish businesses, burning and destroying more than 1,000 synagogues.
For the last 25 years, B’nai B’rith Argentina has organized Kristallnacht memorial ceremonies, and this year’s event took place in Buenos Aires, where Christians and Jews shared a solemn interfaith remembrance event in the Buenos Aires Cathedral with keynote speakers Cardinal Mario Poli and Rabbi Arie Bursztein, dean of the Latin American Rabbinic Seminar. Another keynote speaker was Secretary of Human Rights Claudio Avruj, former executive director of B´nai B´rith District 23. Avruj said, “This is an interfaith meeting gathering all of us in remembrance to help keeping memory alive and to commit all of us in combatting anti-Semitism.”
The presentation of two books with the memories of Holocaust survivors was the main event in São Paulo. Two Righteous Among Nations, Aracy Moebius and Leo Weil, received public tribute. B´nai B´rith Brazil works with the University of São Paulo and other educational institutions teaching the history of the Shoah.
B’nai B’rith Uruguay hosted 600 people on Nov. 13 for its memorial ceremony. The keynote speaker was the minister of the Supreme Court of Justice, Jorge Chediak, who has been president of the Supreme Court twice. The event was attended by the first lady, María Vazquez, former President Luis Lacalle, ministers, ambassadors, other ministers of the Supreme Court, presidents of the political parties, congressmen, religious leaders, such as Cardinal Daniel Sturla, and additional political leaders.
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, and the German ambassador attended both events.
B’nai B’rith Costa Rica held a Kristallnacht commemoration ceremony on Nov. 15 which had two keynote speakers: Thomas Walther, a former judge in Germany, and Matitjahu Kellig, president of the Jewish community in Hertford-Detmold.
B´nai B´rith Venezuela hosted a commemoration of the Night of Broken Glass in its hall in Caracas. The keynote speaker was the former president of the community, David Bittan.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.