Events honor 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht

A survivor of Auschwitz portrayed in “Numbered.”
A survivor of Auschwitz portrayed in “Numbered.”

The 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” a dark time in Jewish and world history, will be commemorated Nov. 9 and 10. The Tucson Jewish community will host several interrelated events to memorialize what’s often referred to as the start of the Holocaust, when violence against Jews broke out across Germany.

In two days, more than 250 synagogues were burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses were trashed and looted, and dozens of Jewish people were killed. A few days later, 30,000 German Jewish men were arrested for the “crime” of being Jewish and sent to concentration camps, where hundreds of them were killed. Curfews were placed on Jews, limiting the hours of the day they could leave their homes.

To commemorate Kris­tallnacht, local families are invited to participate in the Butterfly Project, painting butterflies in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust. The activity will take place on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center; $10 for adults and free for children (middle school age and above). The project is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Wom­en’s Philanthropy Social Action and Young Women’s Cabinet. Proceeds will benefit the Federation’s Holocaust Education and Commemoration Project.

Included in the admission fee is a screening of the documentary film “Numbered” at 3 p.m. The film explores the complex relationship Auschwitz survivors have with the tattoos with which they were branded by the Nazis, and, more controversially, the decision of some descendants of Auschwitz survivors to have relatives’ concentration camp numbers tattooed on their bodies. “Numbered” was written and directed by Dr. Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai.

Doron came up with the idea for the film while she was an intern at the Tel Aviv Medical Center, writes Dr. Benjamin W. Corn in the Jerusalem Post (Aug. 8, 2012). “Doron was paged to evaluate an 83-year-old woman, a survivor of Auschwitz who frequented the emergency room, who had come because she was lonely and pined for an audience. Quickly, Dana concluded there must be others with a similar sense of isolation,” writes Corn, who had mentored Doron.

B’nai Tzedek advisory council members, from the Federation’s teen philanthropy group, will view “Numbered” together, says Sharon Glassberg, director of the JFSA Coalition for Jewish Education. Following the film, the teens will reconvene for a light dinner and conversation about the film with local Holocaust survivors. “We want to raise awareness of the struggles survivors faced after the war and continue to face today,” Glassberg told the AJP. “We can’t turn our backs on them.”

Representatives from Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona and the Holocaust History Center will also talk to the group. “We want to introduce B’nai Tzedek students to local Jewish and non-Jewish nonprofits as options for their annual philanthropic distributions,” says Glassberg.

To RSVP for the Butterfly Project and “Numbered” by Nov. 6, contact Jane Scott at 577-9393 or jscott@jfsa.org.