Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Alice Kraus speaks on her experience of Kristallnacht as a survivor. Staff Writer/ Lindsey D’Ambrosio

In the Student Center’s Owl’s Nest, professors, students and Glassboro residents gathered to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht, which stands for the Day of Broken Glass, was a night in Nazi Germany in which German members of the Nazi party rebuked the Jewish people due to a Jewish man that killed a German minister in France. As retribution, Nazi members demolished and burned various synagogues and Jewish shops. This event is seen by many as the one that would later transform into the Holocaust.

Julia Gibbins, sophomore history and law and justice double major at Rowan, is vice president at the Rowan Center for the Holocaust and Genocide Student Association.

“It makes me feel politically active and socially involved on campus, and I’m spreading academics throughout campus,” Gibbins said. “As a believer that we’re all connected as human beings, I think that we all need to look out for each other.”

According to Gibbins, this was the association’s inaugural event, and the first event they’ve hosted. In addition to daily responsibilities of the association, the faculty coordinators of the program put together two events they are responsible to organize each school year. And this year, the anniversary was one of them.

“I think it’s absolutely horrible to watch other people suffer and to look at something like the Holocaust and realize that similar problems are happening today, is embarrassing and is something we should be working to fix,” Gibbins said.

The event itself consisted of an informative talk about Kristallnacht: what it is, why it happened and what it later lead to.

Later on, the audience was able to listen to the first hand accounts of Kristallnacht along with its consequences from Alice Kraus, a survivor. Kraus brought along with her mementos of the time, including family photographs and immigration transcripts. She later opened up to the audience for a question and answer segment.

Gibbins encouraged others to join her in this once in a lifetime experience meeting survivors, a rarity that is becoming even more scarce and explained that the experience is a great way to begin activation into the international community.

Alexis Simon, senior elementary education major with liberal studies in math and history, came out to see the event as an extra credit opportunity for her Colonial North America class. Aside from this event, she has also been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Hearing from someone that actually lived there, it opens your eyes a lot to what actually really happened, because you only hear about things in school or what you learned or you go to holocaust museums,” Simon said. “You don’t get to actually hear first hand accounts from someone that lived there. I got a perspective of someone who actually lived in Germany for a short period of time, during that time period.”

Simon was pleased she attended the event.

“It taught me more about my history… its part of my heritage,” Simon said.

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