A video message is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liEGWGCaynI
Hi. I’m Hannah Rosenthal, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the U.S. State Department.
Today is a really important day for me, today is November 9th. 73 years ago today my father was arrested in Mannheim, Germany. He was a Rabbi; he was arrested by the Nazis. They blew up his synagogue as they did synagogues all over the country. They blew up stores that were owned by Jews and there was so much blowing up and fires that the day became known as Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass. It is especially important today as I remember the anniversary of my father who was arrested; it is also the day that I remember my family members who didn’t survive. Dad was the only survivor in his family.
Kristallnacht was the unofficial beginning of the Holocaust and if on November 10th leaders of religious groups, governments, civic leaders, businesses, unions, and workers had spoken up against what was happening to the Jews maybe there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust. Maybe I would have the rest of my family members and maybe the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered according to the Final Solution wouldn’t have happened.
So the lesson that we take away on November 9th is that when we see something that is deplorable we say so; we condemn it. We ask people who are like us and unlike us to make sure to condemn it, to call it out, to shame people who are doing it. So that never again, never again, will we see hatred go unanswered.