Catholic students attend Jewish Kristallnacht
Renee Simmons - Collier Citizen
November 11, 2009
The Catholic and Jewish communities came together, Nov. 8, as eighth grade students from St. Elizabeth Seton were invited to attend the Kristallnacht convocation and reception at Temple Shalom.
Translated as “night of broken glass,” the ceremony marked the 71st anniversary of the night Nazi Germany launched its attack on Jewish citizens, breaking the glass in neighborhoods, businesses and temples owned by Jewish citizens and forcing families out of their homes.
“This is something in history that people need to know about,” said Melissa Keel, a member of the Catholic/Jewish Dialogue of Collier County, one of the event organizers. “I’m hoping the students will be able to converse with the survivors and that they will take that information back and share that with their schoolmates.”
The afternoon service included a procession of Holocaust survivors in a special candle lighting representing the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, and the seven million others who were victims of Nazi aggression. Holocaust survivors also shared their stories with the attendees.
SES was the only school invited to the ceremony and school officials plan to incorporate the experience into an extensive Holocaust curriculum the school has set up for the students.
“Students at this age are more emotionally prepared to listen and learn about the events of the Holocaust,” says assistant principal Gina Groch. “We hope the students gain a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust, through the experience of coming together and learning with those of other faiths.”
The nine-week curriculum is organized by Patricia Lyon, a middle school language arts and literature teacher. Already, students have visited the local Holocaust Museum, watched a DVD interview of Elie Wiesel, author of “Night, Read Night” and “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” as well as researched reports and presentations and listened to oral accounts by local Holocaust survivors ...