Hug for Carolyn a. k. a. “Bink”
KRISTALLNACHT 75TH ANNIVERSARY
SETON HILL UNIVERSITY
November 12, 2013
When Fritz Ottenheimer was asked what the most terrifying experience in his life was he didn’t have to think long.
- Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.
- Instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth, Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom—broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.
Ottenheimer and three other Holocaust survivors, Yolanda Willis, Shulamit Bastacky, and Solange Lebovitz, were acknowledged during the interfaith Kristallnacht memorial service at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Ottenheimer was 13 on November 9-10, 1938, when, across the Third Reich, 267 synagogues were burned, 700 Jewish businesses were looted, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and 91 Jews met death.
Early in the morning of November 10 a synagogue was blown up near his home. A few hours later there was a knock on the door. Two Gestapo were there to arrest his father.
“How could that happen?” he wondered. His father had committed no crime. “We did not know what was happening to us. I felt hurt, helpless, (more…)