80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

The rundown

The Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES) is planning to dedicate Holocaust Education Month 2018 to the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

To mark the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938), the Night of Broken Glass in Nazi, Germany, CHES will launch a unique series of programs for Holocaust Education Month in November 2018, including:

• Anthology of short memoirs by descendants of families who experienced Kristallnacht first-hand;
• Guest lecture by a prominent expert speaker on a unique episode of the Holocaust, its impacts today and beyond, including presentation of several Kristallnacht memoirs;
• Exhibit (in negotiation) about destroyed synagogues in Germany and Austria during that period; and
• 80th Anniversary-themed program for Descendants of Survivors and for our Annual Teacher’s Workshop, including new teaching tools and classroom materials for educators.


On Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, a wave of violent attacks on Jewish stores, homes and synagogues (hence the shattered glass) took place across Nazi Germany on November 9 and 10, 1938, setting off an explosion of human destruction that was to become the Holocaust.

The destruction of a synagogue was not only the destruction of a place of worship, It was also the destruction of a meeting place for Jewish communities and the destruction of a place Jews would go when they needed help or refuge.

German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews – and for Jews everywhere in Europe – quickly became constrained. As is now well-known, the Nazis and their collaborators soon started to carry out the systematic murder of 6 million European Jews in what became known as the Holocaust.

For the 80th anniversary of this precursor to the Holocaust, CHES plans to record memories of Kristallnacht by relatives in Ottawa of families who experienced this terrible event, before this knowledge is lost forever. Above all, CHES would like to make the community commemoration of Kristallnacht more meaningful than ever by inviting a powerful Canadian or international speaker with expertise on this history, its impact on modern times and the lessons it holds for our future.


CHES needs $20,000 to support the project for the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: $10,000 for November 9th Launch Event, to bring a prominent international speaker to Ottawa, a related pre-war synagogue exhibit, and the anthology project; $5,000 for developing the annual teachers’ workshop with new educational tools and classroom materials, and an additional $5,000 to grow the Descendants of Survivors program, which, along with prominent panelists, may need a larger venue to reach a wider community for greater impact.


All events will be open to students, academics, and community at large, of all religions and ethnicities, and the international aspects of this program will encourage partnerships with relevant Embassies and other international partners.

We will also reach out to the appropriate departments at the various local universities to bring our speakers to their classrooms. Content from this event will be archived to be used for future academic research. All programs will help the public learn about one of the worst genocides in modern history, gain courage from the resilience of survivors and work towards a better future.

As the prominence of the CHES programming grows, this will also have a positive impact on the Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies and Carleton University, with which CHES is affiliated.