Touro Law to Commemorate Kristallnacht
Remembered as Beginning of the Holocaust, Commemoration Program Includes Survivor Boris Kotler
November 3, 2009
Central Islip, NY – Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center will host a commemorative program remembering Kristallnacht on Monday, November 9 at 12:30 pm in the faculty conference room. The program is being presented by Touro Law’s Jewish Programs Committee. The special guest speaker is Holocaust survivor Boris Kotler.
Mr. Kotler was born in Siemiatycze, Poland, a town of 7,000 Jews, in 1930. On September 1, 1939 the Russians attacked Poland. At that time, half of Poland became part of the Soviet Union and the other half was German. In June of 1941 Germany attacked Poland and took over the entire country. In the Spring of 1942 all Polish Jews that could be found were taken from their homes and placed in the Ghetto. Less than a year later, in November 1942, the Ghetto was “liquidated” and the Jews were shipped to Treblinka for extermination. Fifty Jews from the town of Siemiatycze survived the Holocaust. Boris Kotler, a very bright and resourceful 12 year old hid in the Ghetto during the evacuation and within 24 hours fled the Ghetto to the woods to fight for his survival with other Jewish teenagers until their liberation in July 1944.
Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria on November 9 and 10, 1938. Jewish homes were ransacked in numerous German cities along with 8,000 Jewish shops, towns and villages, as civilians and storm troopers destroyed buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in smashed glass. Jews were beaten to death; 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps; and 1,668 synagogues ransacked with 267 set on fire. To many, this planned “spontaneous” event marked the beginning of what would later be called the Holocaust, and thus it is remembered each year for what it meant in Jewish history, and in the history of all civilized people.
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