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Seton Hill’s Kristallnacht Remembrance Interfaith Service on November 9 to Commemorate the 83rd Anniversary of the “Night of Broken Glass”

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) and the Office of Campus Ministry at Seton Hill University will hold the annual Kristallnacht Remembrance Interfaith Service on Tuesday, November 9, at 7 p.m. The service, which is open to the public, can be attended in-person in Cecilian Hall on the second floor of the Administration Building at Seton Hill or watched via a livestream. Those attending the event in-person are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

This year’s service will remember Kristallnacht on its 83rd anniversary. On November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazis burned synagogues, looted Jewish homes and businesses and murdered individuals throughout Germany, Austria and other Nazi controlled areas in a pogrom known as Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass.” The allusion is to the broken glass that littered the ground from the shattered windows of Jewish-owned businesses.  This state inspired and sanctioned night of violence resulted in the deaths of 91 Jews, the looting of 7,000 Jewish businesses, the arrest of 30,000 Jewish males and the desecration or destruction of 267 synagogues. 

 As part of this year’s Kristallnacht service, the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill will present the premiere of the first video from The Eva Fleischner Oral History Project. The video will feature the testimony of Albert Farhy, a Holocaust survivor from Pittsburgh, who describes his experiences as a Jewish teenager in Bulgaria. Farhy and his family were sent to a ghetto but avoided being deported to a death camp because the Bulgarian people stood up at the eleventh hour to stop the mass deportation of Bulgarian Jews. 

The video is part of The Eva Fleischner Oral History Project, which was funded in memory of the late Holocaust scholar through a generous gift from Hans and Leslie Fleischner, Eva Fleischner’s brother and sister-in-law. The Eva Fleischner Oral History Project will include video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and their descendants that will be available to K-12 educators as well as college and university students and professors to help advance Holocaust education through personal remembrances.  The project seeks to preserve the oral histories of Holocaust survivors for future generations in an effort to ensure history does not repeat itself. At this time seven oral histories have been recorded.

Seton Hill University formally announced the establishment of its National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education in November 1987 by commemorating Kristallnacht. For each year since, the University has marked the anniversary with an interfaith service where students gather with Holocaust survivors and remember with word, music and reflection.

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today.”   The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of antisemitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.