Rescue and Indifference—Honoring Rescuers, Commemorating Kristallnacht

Share Article

At the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Sunday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m.

The commemoration will begin at the Ferro Fountain of the Righteous.

We join those who memorialize this sacred day in Holocaust history by paying tribute to the righteous few who chose to risk their own safety to stand up for those in peril, so that we may always remember that we each have the power to make a difference.

At a special community gathering, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will contrast the acts of righteous “upstanders” with the indifference displayed during and following “Kristallnacht,” often referred to as the “Night of Shattered Glass.” The commemoration of the 74th anniversary of November 9, 1938, will include remarks from Ernest Fruehauf, who recalls these events of his childhood in Kitzingen, Germany, and his father’s arrest, fueling their efforts to leave Germany. Other anticipated speakers are Benjamin Albalas, President of the Jewish community of Athens and Moses K. Konstantinis, immediate past president KIS, an authority on Thessaloniki, who will reflect on the impact of the Holocaust on Greek Jewry.

The night of November 9, 1938, defined by widespread orchestrated violence carried out by the Nazi regime against Jewish stores, businesses, homes and houses of worship in Germany and Austria, is considered by Holocaust historians as the “end of the beginning and beginning of the end.”

Rick Hirschhaut, Museum Executive Director, notes, “We are humbled to join with the many who memorialize this sacred day in Holocaust history, while paying tribute to the righteous few who chose to risk their own safety to stand up for those in peril. It has become our custom to mark this day by adding the names of those precious rescuers to our Ferro Fountain of the Righteous, so that we may always remember that we each have the power to make a difference.”

The program will begin with the unveiling of new plaques at the Ferro Fountain, in honor of rescuers from Greece, Belgium and Poland. Two plaques reflect the heroic deeds of Greek rescuers, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens and All Greece and Dimitris Spiliakos. The Archbishop took the leading role in the battle against the German policy to annihilate the Jews of Greece, suggesting all priests extend aid and all convents provide safe haven. His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago will reflect on the actions of the Archbishop.

Dimitris Spiliakos was an attorney well acquainted with Jews in Thessaloniki. He helped several families escape to Athens, also arranging for continued assistance that kept them safe during the German occupation. His son, Panos Spiliakos, will participate in the ceremony at the Ferro Fountain.

Andree Geulen-Herscovici provided shelter and safety to local Holocaust survivor, Marguerite Mishkin and her sister Annette, who were children at the time of World War II. Part of a Catholic family in the countryside of Belgium, Andree was involved with the Belgian Resistance movement and agreed to care for the two girls as long as necessary. Marguerite and Annette remained with Andree from 1943 until 1946.

In Poland, Katarzyna Moroz took in a young Jewish woman and her 3-year-old daughter, telling neighbors they were distant cousins. When Katarzyna’s husband threatened to expose the Jews, she relocated Ella and her little girl to the home of Katarzyna’s married daughter in another town. This saved them from deportation to certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Katarzyna’s grandson and other family members are expected to be present for the November 11 ceremony. Last July, Katarzyna was posthumously honored as “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s Highest Honor, by Orli Gil, then Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, at a ceremony at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

The program continues indoors in the Museum’s Goodman Auditorium, where Albalas and Konstantinis, through the cooperation of the Circle for Hellas & Israel, will reflect on the impact of the Holocaust on Greek Jewry. Also speaking will be Holocaust survivor Ernest Fruehauf, sharing his personal experience of Kristallnacht in 1938.

In addition to the speakers, Cantor Alberto Mizrahi of Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago, will perform musical selections. The program will conclude with a ceremonial candle lighting. A reception hosted by Circle for Hellas & Israel will follow the program. Reservations are required; reservations(at)ilhmec(dot)org, 847.967.4889.

Likely the last international institution of its kind built with the active participation of Holocaust survivors, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is the largest facility in the Midwest dedicated to preserving the memories of those lost in the Holocaust and to teaching current generations to fight hatred, indifference and genocide in today’s world. The Museum is located at 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie. The Museum is open Monday through Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Thursday evenings: 5:00- 8:00 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karen Goodman Minter
Follow us on
Visit website