Remembering Kristallnacht

October 7, 2017 by David Zwartz
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Visitors to Wellington NZ around this coming 9 November can take in a Kristallnacht commemoration concert of special music related to that violent and tragic event.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand and the NZ School of Music are promoting what has become their annual remembrance of the death and destruction that took place on 9-10 November 1938.

On that night about 300 synagogues and almost 8,000 Jewish-owned businesses and homes were plundered and destroyed during the wave of State-sanctioned violent anti-Jewish pogroms. Across Germany, Austria and Sudetenland almost 100 Jews were murdered and 30,000 Jewish men arrested and sent to prisons and concentration camps.

Wellington’s first Kristallnacht remembrance concert took place in November 2008, the 70th anniversary, when Russian-Israeli composer Boris Pigovat’s Holocaust Requiem was performed.

The concert is now an annual event thanks to a bequest from Hungarian Auschwitz survivor Clare Galambos-Winter, who after arriving in NZ as a refugee in 1949 played as a NZ Symphony Orchestra first violinist for over 30 years.

Special items in this year’s Kristallnacht concert programme include a Duo by Erwin Schulhoff (who died in Wülzburg concentration camp in 1942), and songs from Holocaust 1944 by contemporary US composer Lori Laitman.

Also of note will be the Ballad of Mauthausen by popular Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, and a Jazz tribute to Coco Schumann, a founding member of the Ghetto Swingers, the jazz group formed in Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The winners of the 2017 National Secondary Schools Chamber Music Contest will perform Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8 which he dedicated to “the victims of fascism and war.”

Concert ticket bookings can be made online at



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