Pope Francis has marked the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht by asking Catholics to “renew our closeness” with the Jewish people, who he called “our older big brothers”.
Speaking after his Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff was one of many global and religious leaders talking about the legacy of the riots that left 91 Jews killed and 267 synagogues destroyed.
In Britain, Sunday saw a special service held at Westminster Abbey, with Baroness Neuberger of West London Synagogue giving the Address alongside Rabbi Stuart Altshuler of Belsize Square Synagogue.
Choirs from both shuls sang Shomeir Israel and six memorial candles were lit by Ann Kirk, a survivor of Kristallnacht. John Izbicki, whose father’s shop was one of many Jewish businesses smashed up, also spoke.
Around the world, similar services were held. In Austria, renowned British cellist Raphael Wallfisch played music from Felix Mendelssohn to Erich Korngold that was regarded as taboo by the Nazis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it marked “a real low point in German history”. She added: “It was an event that humiliated Jews in an unbelievable way. Later on, German history developed in an even more dramatic way.”