April 19, 2024
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Norbert Strauss Addresses Yavneh Eighth Graders on Kristallnacht

On November 9-10, 1938, Nazi soldiers went around smashing the windows and burning the buildings of Jews throughout Germany. Around 90 people were killed and more than 30,000 men were taken by the German police into concentration camps.

On November 9, 2017, the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Norbert Strauss, a Holocaust and Kristallnacht survivor, came to Yavneh Academy to speak to an intrigued crowd of eighth graders. Strauss lived in Frankfurt during the time of Kristallnacht. He had lived a regular life until then: went to yeshiva, went to shul and occasionally encountered a young group of anti-Semitic children.

Then, on November 9-10, 1938, the SS men began smashing and burning Jewish belongings. Strauss recalls being thrown into a spiral of events from having everything he had known leveled and burned, to not seeing his extended family ever again. Fortunately, his immediate family met up in America. Strauss’ father was on the St. Louis but was eventually able to sail to America, while his mother was able to acquire plane tickets out of Germany. Strauss shared a rare moment with Yavneh Academy and the eighth graders were grateful to have shared in his memories.

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