Kristallnacht Remembered at Moving Commemoration

News Story: November 11, 2016

Students look at the momentos of Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg following the account of his
experience in the concentrations camps during the Kristallnacht commemoration
in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. 

Students, faculty, staff and community members remembered Kristallnacht at Sacred Heart University’s annual commemoration ceremony November 9 at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

The cloudy, damp day set the mood for the topic of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, when 78 years ago, Jews living in Germany encountered violence and destruction from the Nazi regime on the night of Nov. 9, 1938. Nazis broke the windows of Jewish businesses, school and synagogues, littering glass in the streets. The violence resulted in death, arrests and the beginning stages of the Holocaust.

The somber occasion started with psalms song by the University’s Liturgical Choir and passages read by various students, faulty and staff. Fr. Tony Ciorra, interim vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity, introduced the event’s guest speaker, Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg.

Mosberg shows the audience the
type of whip he was beaten with.

Mosberg, a 90-year-old New Jersey resident, lived through the Holocaust and vividly remembers what he endured. Mosberg showed the crowd in the chapel several artifacts including the uniform, a wire bracelet and a cap he wore, bricks from the crematorium his family members were murdered in, utensils used at Auschwitz, a brush and a whip.

“I was beaten by four men with this kind of whip,” Mosberg said. “It was 70 years ago and I did not forget. At that time, I was hoping that they’d kill me because once you are dead you don’t feel the pain. But I survived this and I survived many things…And I’m here to tell you what happened.”

With great emotion, Mosberg talked about his time spent in the concentration camps. “I wish I didn’t have to stand here and talk about the Holocaust and could say that the Holocaust never happened, but it did happen,” Mosberg said. He talked about the family members he lost and the many times he thought he was going to die.

“As long as I live, my obligation and my duty is to talk about the atrocities committed to my family and six million other Jews,” Mosberg said.

At the end of his speech, the audience in the chapel gave Mosberg a standing ovation. The event concluded with more readings and psalms. Nicole Giordano, a sophomore studying nursing, spoke. “History has taught us to understand the consequences of the Holocaust so it doesn’t happen again.” She thanked Mosberg and told him that his story is more important than the ones read in history books. She also thanked SHU president John J. Petillo for creating an inclusive environment and making sure events like the Kristallnacht commemoration exist on campus. “Our job is now to take the knowledge and make sure something like this never happens again,” Giordano reiterated.

After the chapel emptied, attendees had refreshments in the narthex. “It was extremely powerful,” Giordano said. “He didn’t sugarcoat his story, and I think that was good.”

Trevor O’Brien, a sophomore majoring in math who also spoke at the event, said Mosberg was angry at times and that made his speech even more moving. “It wasn’t just a reflection on the Holocaust, he really talked about what happened.”

Kristallnacht 11/9/16