SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains will commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. 

This night of remembrance will feature a presentation by guest speaker Fred Heyman, who will share his personal experiences starting on Kristallnacht and during the Holocaust. The program, which will take place during Congregation Beth Israel’s Friday night Shabbat services, is free and open to the community. An Oneg Shabbat dessert reception will follow.

Kristallnacht, which translates as “crystal night” in German, is also called the "Night of Broken Glass." It refers to the violent attacks that the Nazis waged against Jews on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, Austria, and parts of occupied Czechoslovakia. The term Kristallnacht comes from the broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish homes, schools, synagogues, and stores were damaged and destroyed. With Jews beaten, killed, and sent to concentration camps, Kristallnacht is often seen as the beginning of the Holocaust.

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Mr. Heyman is what the Nazis called a U-Boat, a Jew hiding in plain sight in his native Berlin. A young boy at the time, he lived with his parents, avoiding arrest. The Heymans were helped to survive by a Catholic family. Mr. Heyman witnessed Kristallnacht and the liberation of the city by the Russians, who almost killed him as a spy. After immigrating to the United States in 1946, Fred served on the front line in Korean, completed college, married, and worked for AT&T. A resident of Morristown, NJ, he has devoted himself to Holocaust education for nearly two decades.

The memorial program is sponsored by the synagogue’s Second/Third Generation Holocaust Survivors Group. This support group, which was created at Congregation Beth Israel, also includes participants from area synagogues. The group plans events, such as the Kristallnacht Remembrance, to educate the public about the Holocaust and to honor and remember those who suffered and perished.  

For additional information about the program, contact Faye Bodenstein (frgbnj@aol.com), Claire Bornstein (clairebn@comcast.net) or Rita Geller (rmgeller@comcast.net), or call the synagogue office at (908) 889-1830.

Congregation Beth Israel is located at 18 Shalom Way (corner of Martine Ave.) in Scotch Plains.