At some point over last weekend, I realized that I would be in Germany on Nov. 9th and 10th, which is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazis mass coordinated attack on Jewish institutions and businesses in 1938.
A quick search yielded a program at a synagogue in Hamburg to commemorate it and I decided to attend, figuring that it would be particularly meaningful to do so.
And it was.
The event was opened with a powerful rendition of "Eli, Eli" (My God, My God), followed by the Mourner's Kaddish.
Then, the bulk of the event was 5 people reading short entries from the autobiographies of Holocaust survivors.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a microphone (there were about 100 people in the room) and 3 of the 5 readers were barely audible. Add that to the fact that the subway goes right by the window every few minutes and it's challenging, particularly because I had to work extra hard since it was all in German.
I debated leaving, but figured I'd use the time to meditate on the event and how the world has (and hasn't) changed since.
Fortunately, the last reader was fantastic. Projected beautifully and I was particularly pleased because although I didn't get every word, I really followed the bulk of the story.
There was a wonderful flutist as well who played a Handl solo that was evocative of the fear and loneliness that people must have felt on this night 77 years ago.
Then, she joined with the singer to have an uplifting piece by Bach that I think was pointing to hope and survival.
I have to say, I'm glad I went.