Seventy-seven years ago Ernst Eduard vom Rath (3 June 1909 – 9 November 1938), a German diplomat, was assassinated in Paris in early November 1938 by a Jewish teenager, Herschel Grynszpan. This became the pretext for “Kristallnacht,” the “Night of Broken Glass” on November 9-10, 1938 by the Nazis. The name “Kristallnacht” comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed.
The true number of Jews massacred in the attacks will probably never be known, but it was certainly many times greater than the “published 91+ dead,” when the maltreatment of the Jewish men after they were arrested is taken into consideration, along with at least 300 suicides caused by the despair it engendered. Jewish deaths undoubtedly ran into the hundreds.
Additionally, 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers.
Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.
“Kristallnacht “was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.
This is the context of a 9:20 minute DVD conceived and produced by Dr. Eugene Marlow now available from MEII Enterprises.
“Zikkaron/Kristallnacht (Remembrance of Kristallnacht),” however, did not start out as a video. Its genesis was a chapter entitled “Kristallnacht” that appears in The Book of Ruth (Southern Highlands Publishers) published in 2000. It is a memoir written by Dr. Marlow’s Aunt Ruth Rack (née Landesberg) who, along with his mother Estelle and two other siblings—his Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Bob—were fortunate to escape from Germany in spring 1939 shortly before Germany closed its borders. They all escaped to England. Ruth now lives in Sydney, Australia. All four siblings, together with their parents, mother Anna and father Bernhard, experienced Kristallnacht directly in Leipzig, Germany.
This chapter inspired Dr. Marlow to write a piece of music to pay homage to Kristallnacht survivors and non-survivors alike. Recorded by his group The Heritage Ensemble in 2014 “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht” was released on an album entitled “Mosaica: Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble Reimagines Popular Hebraic Melodies.”
Shortly after the “Mosaica” CD was released it occurred to Dr. Marlow that the track would have even more impact if it were visualized; hence, the current DVD. He uses this video as an introduction for live presentations about his family’s story, during and especially after the November 1938 event. The thread of the story is that despite the Nazi’s intentions, his maternal family that escaped to England grew and prospered. The larger Jewish family has too in the last 75 years. In fact, Israel has one of the strongest economies in the Middle East and the world Jewish population is now the same as it was before The Holocaust—a triumph over The Final Solution.
“Zikkaron/Kristallnacht” is available directly from MEII Enterprises for US$10, plus US$3 domestic shipping and handling. Payment can be made through MEII Enterprises PayPal account (MEIIEnterprises@aol.com) or by contacting MEII Enterprises directly at the address phone number listed below.
Dr. Marlow is available to talk about his DVD and the aftermath of Kristallnacht as it affected his maternal family. He can also be reached at the address and phone number below.
Support for this project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York.
Eugene Marlow, Ph.D.
November 9, 2015
© Eugene Marlow 2015
To order the “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht” DVD
or to arrange for a presentation:
“Zikkaron/Kristallnacht” DVD is available
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Total of US$13
Payment can be made through
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by contacting MEII Enterprises directly
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