Kristallnacht remembered in Brisbane

November 13, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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More than 100 southeast Queensland residents attended a special Kristallnacht service at the Brisbane Synagogue. 

Nidean Dickson

The evening featured Brisbane author Dr Rochy Miller and Nidean Dickson, Curriculum Leader Religious Education and Gandel Holocaust Studies graduate, from Brigidine College.

Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies president Paul Myers said one of the highlights of the evening was the attendance of more than 20 Brigidine College high school students – all part of a special Suspend Judgment program developed by Ms Dickson.

“The enthusiasm of these students to learn more about the Holocaust was truly inspiring,” Paul said.

In her keynote address, Nidean discussed the importance of keeping the history of the Holocaust alive by being a messenger.

“As an educator, I have a fundamental role to be a messenger and to teach young people how to be messengers,“ Nidean said.

Paul Myers and Brendan Cahill, principal of Brigidine

Suspend Judgment was developed to support Year 10-12 students at Brigidine College to engage in an extracurricular program about the Holocaust.

“Each student recognised that evil is not enough to explain what happened in the Holocaust, it was ordinary people who were capable of doing the most tragic of things. This is the message. Each student recognised that there is a deep responsibility to ensure this never happens again.”

Rochy Miller, who has written a book on her mother’s Holocaust experience, spoke about her personal knowledge of Kristallnacht, passed down from her mother.

My insights into Kristallnacht are not scholarly – they are intensely personal,” Rochy said.

“Kristallnacht defined the moment when a line was drawn in the sand of time – the exact moment when Jewish people all over the world stopped being people and became merely Jews. The moment when citizens all over the world became complicit bystanders, allowing creeping anti-Semitism to go unchecked until it crescendoed into the unmitigated horror of the Holocaust – systematic murder of innocent people, based solely on their ethnicity.”

And, for Nidean Dickson that was the message she wanted to convey.

“Tonight, we are here to honour, remember and learn to understand the importance of the message of Kristallnacht.”

Report from Jason Steinberg

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