Holocaust Center to commemorate Kristallnacht at August Wilson

Holocaust Center to commemorate Kristallnacht at August Wilson

The Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will present its annual Kristallnacht commemoration program, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m. at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown.

It is the second cooperative venture this year between August Wilson and the Holocaust Center. August Wilson is currently hosting an exhibition on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: “Nazi Olympics, Berlin 1936.”

Kristallnacht, also known as “The Night of Broken Glass,” was a pogrom carried out by the Nazis in Germany and Austria on Nov. 9-10, 1938, resulting in Jewish businesses being destroyed, hundreds of synagogues being burned and 30,000 Jewish men being unjustly arrested and sent to concentration camps. The first incident of large-scale anti-Jewish violence by the Nazis, Kristallnacht is recognized as the turning point for the Jews of Germany and Austria and an action that would eventually lead to the Final Solution — the attempted murder of all European Jews.

The Nov. 13 Kristallnacht program will feature “Memories of Kristallnacht” from Ruth Drescher, a survivor of the pogrom, and a keynote presentation by her husband, University of Pittsburgh professor Seymour Drescher, titled “Entangled Histories: Race, Sports and Inhumanity in Nazi Europe.”  

Participants will have the opportunity to view the Nazi Olympics exhibition in the hour prior to the program. A dessert reception will follow the program.

This program is free and open to the public and is underwritten by the Sandy and Edgar Snyder Kristallnacht Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Foundation.

Ruth Lieberman Drescher was born in Stuttgart, Germany just prior to the events of Nov. 9-10, 1938. She, her parents and one of her sisters escaped Germany in August 1939 — one month before the start of World War II (an older brother and sister had left a few years earlier).

The Lieberman family settled in the United States where Ruth went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York and her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a social worker and artist.

Seymour Drescher is a professor of history at Pitt, where he has taught for 50 years. He has received many national awards. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington. He was also the initial secretary of the European Program at the Wilson Center.

Contact Matthew Sohner at 412-421-1500, ext.104 or msohner@jfedpgh.org for more information.