The lingering touch of history

Today it is 75 years since Kristallnacht, a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.

At the time, my grandparents and my father lived in Spandau in Berlin. My grandfather was a member of a synagogue, not sure if it was the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue. Anyway, the synagogue was burned down on the night and the elders recovered as much as they could. They distributed prayer shawls and caps to the congregation.

Inevitably, my grandfather left Berlin to come to England, while my grandmother and father remained and, having survived, joined him after the war.

He brought with him the prayer shawl he was given, which bore scorch marks from the fire. I will never forget the sight of this.

All three are now gone. They were lucky. But their memory and the memory of this event remains with me as a reminder of how we should each act and our responsibilities to each other.

8 thoughts on “The lingering touch of history”

  1. What powerful memories they shared! And what a blessing all 3 survived. Perfect to share this Armistice Day weekend.
    Thank you for continuing the chain of memories, and the reminder to take right action!

  2. Having read an eye witness account of how the Nazis took many prayer shawls and thoras and burned them in front of the synagogue it seems even more poignant that your father had one. Thanks for sharing.

  3. A very poignant story,,, and it is these touching moments of reality that make me know as you say responsibility and I would like to add compassion are what the world needs from all of us.

    • Thanks, Sarupa. Definitely brings compassion into focus. I don’t usually get excited by anniversaries, but when you realise the impact of some events, they shake you to the core as if it happened yesterday.


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