Morristown, N.J. (November 11, 2015) – November 9, 2015 marked the 25th year that the College of Saint Elizabeth has recognized Kristallnacht with an evening of prayer, meditation, education, and the vivid memories of those who escaped the Holocaust. The event, Commemorating Kristallnacht, was held in Dolan Performance Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. Honored guests were Fred Heyman of Morristown, N.J., who gave the survivor testimony; Dr. Michael Berenbaum, director of Sigi Ziering Institute; and the Ashrey Choir of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, N.J., directed by Cantor Joel Caplan.
The evening began with Dr. Helen Streubert, president of the College, welcoming the standing-room only audience.
"The significance of this event, the 25th anniversary of the College's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education Holocaust remembrance, is even more appropriate today as ever before," she noted. "The College of Saint Elizabeth is committed to service and education. We will make a difference."
Among the evening's offerings were a recitation of prayers by Rabbi David Neeson of the Morristown Jewish Center, Rev. Arakel Varfdazaryan of Saint Mary's Armenian Church, Livingston, N.J., Sister Joseph Spring, S.C.C., president, Assumption College for Sisters, Denville, N.J. and Sister Rosemary Moynihan, chair of CSE's board of trustees.
Heyman's description of being a young child as the Third Reich came into power was compelling and frightening. He described the Nuremburg Laws that were designed to severely oppress the Jews of Germany and eventually occupied areas, such as not being allowed to ride a bike or own a pet. His German citizenship was rescinded and he became stateless before the age of ten. His closing statement, however, became the central theme of the evening. He said, "As I hold my grandson on my lap, my grandson whose last name is Heyman, I can proclaim, 'Hitler did not win!'"
Berenbaum introduced his portion of the evening by noting that the Catholic Church and the Jewish community now live in harmony and respect. He said he was pleased to return to CSE, having visited twice before, marking the inaugural year of the College's Kristallnacht Commemoration and the opening of the Center. He gave a very detailed history of what lead up to Kristallnacht and its effect on the German economy. For example, German insurance companies could not be forbidden to pay on property damage claims, so Jews were prohibited from filing claims. This was a prime example of Hitler's goal of eliminating the Jews from Europe.
The Ashrey Choir, full of young voices, regaled the audience with songs of peace and hope. Ann Monka, a Polish Holocaust survivor was the featured soloist on one piece, with her strong voice soaring above the choir.
Dr. Harriet Sepinwall, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, said at the conclusion, "We are going to continue to observe this day until there comes a time that there is no longer a need to observe this day."
The reception following was sponsored by Yolanda, '68 and Raymond Kunz.