Preserving stories of Holocaust survivors

A recent survey found that “many adults lack basic knowledge” of the Holocaust. How can the world keep remembering?


US Holocaust Memorial Museum
US Holocaust Memorial Museum

On November 9, 1938, violent mobs attacked Jewish homes and businesses in Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia.

The pogrom is known as Kristallnacht, or the “night of broken glass.” Nearly 100 Jews were murdered, tens of thousands taken to concentration camps and thousands of synagogues and businesses were destroyed, looted and desecrated.

Eighty years later, anti-Semitic actions are on the rise in the United States. A shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in late October was the most violent incident, but cemeteries have been vandalized, and swastikas painted on community centers. Slurs and conspiratorial whispers spread online. Sometimes this rhetoric intersects with the mainstream in parts of American politics.

A recent survey found that “many adults lack basic knowledge” of the Holocaust.

In his book Night, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote that “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

The youngest survivors are now in their 70s. As the years since the atrocities of that time pass, and as firsthand survivors grow older, how can the world keep remembering what must never be forgotten?
As Wiesel also wrote: “For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”

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