(Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 2020)--As it does each year, B’nai B’rith Latin America commemorated the anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of the Broken Glass and the 1938 November Pogroms, during the month of November. Despite the ongoing health and economic crises across the globe, many Latin American countries marked the tragic event virtually.
B’nai B’rith members, the local Jewish community, and invited government officials and guests noted the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Jews in Germany and Austria with virtual events and one in-person ceremony.
In a joint effort B’nai B’rith in Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic and Venezuela hosted a joint virtual event on Nov 8th, which featured writer and journalist Professor Julian Schvindlerman.
B’nai B’rith Argentina, B´nai B´rith Chile, B'nai B'rith Brazil and B’nai B’rith Venezuela also co-hosted a commemorative virtual event on Nov. 9th and Nov. 11th.
B’nai B’rith Uruguay held the only in-person event, with 140 authorized people in its event hall. The event was simultaneously live-streamed. The President of Uruguay Luis Lacalle, the Vice President Beatriz Argimon, ministers, ambassadors and congressmen attended. The event was broadcasted by all networks in Uruguay.
The keynote speaker Rector of ORT University Jorge Grunberg said: "It is a mistake to believe that the Night of Broken Glass is a tragedy only of the past and disconnected from our time. Even though each historic event is unique, those who create such events are always back again. Intolerance, discrimination, indifference, the killings reached the unbelievable under the Nazis, but such criminality also exists in our time: the AMIA bombing.”
While different from previous years’ crowded ceremonies, B’nai B’rith Latin America was still committed to remembering Kristallnacht, noting that such a critically important event in Jewish history cannot go unnoticed. In fact, with the world facing such pain as COVID-19, remembering the pain of lost Jewish brothers and sisters felt especially poignant and important this year.
During the Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 pogroms in 1938, nearly 100 Jews were killed and more than 1,000 synagogues were set on fire. Nearly 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed and countless homes and community centers were looted.