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Ramapo Students to Take Part in Kristallnacht Commemoration

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)October 24, 2022

MAHWAH, N.J. – Ramapo College students will participate in an event commemorating the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht at Congregation Beth Haverim Shir Shalom on November 9 at 7 p.m.

“We cherish opportunities like these,” said Gross Center director Dr. Jacob Ari Labendz, “when our students may enrich and give back to our communities by sharing their research and time. The eager support of those same communities demonstrates to students the enduring value of their studies well beyond campus.”

The students enrolled in Dr. Labendz’s course on the Holocaust are producing virtual “Story Maps” based on the testimonies of survivors who witnessed Kristallnacht. All of the testimonies come from the collection recorded by the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Ramapo College and feature survivors who built lives in our region. The testimonies are available for viewing on Ramapo Campus thanks to the Fortunoff Archive for Video Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.

Ramapo student Amanda Williams said that working on the StoryMap project for the Kristallnacht event provided a chance to view the Holocaust and the events of Kristallnacht not simply as a moment in history. “By focusing on the testimony of a single survivor, I was able to learn about the entire experience of a Jewish person in Germany at the time, and see how Kristallnacht shaped their experience,” said Amanda, a political science major scheduled to graduate in December 2022. “The Kristallnacht testimony project made history something that didn’t feel distant, but showcased how unique the experience of every Jewish person was, and the importance of preserving and learning from the personal life stories shared with Yale’s Fortunoff archives and our class.”

On November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a deadly and nationwide pogrom against Jews in Germany. This explosion of violence, commonly known as Kristallnacht or The Night of Broken Glass, marked a turning point in the Nazis’ war on Jews. The name derives from the shattered glass that littered German streets after mobs vandalized thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes. Mobs murdered at least 91 Jews and the Nazi police sent thirty-thousand Jewish men to concentration camps.

Dr. Labendz explained, “Ramapo students are helping the Jewish community commemorate this atrocity, as simultaneously they learn and teach about how it affected our immediate neighbors and their families.”


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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