Kristallnacht + 75: survivor Susan Warsinger remembers Nazi terror

5:51 PM, Nov 7, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Saturday marks a solemn anniversary: 75 years since the Nazi and civilian rampage called Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, which signaled the start of the Holocaust. 

It's named for the shards of thousands of windows broken in Jewish shops, homes and synagogues on November 9, and November 10, 1938. Nazi storm troopers and civilians burned hundreds of temples, plundered thousands of homes and killed nearly 100 Jews.

Survivors Susan Warsinger, Jill Pauly and Susan Taube re-lived the terror and lit candles at the US Holocaust Museum in memory of the victims.

Warsinger remembers she and her then 8 year old brother were excited because the next day was their mother's birthday. "We finally had fallen asleep, and then all of a sudden, some bricks and rocks were being thrown through the window."

She buried her head under the blankets. "My brother rushed to the window, and he said it was our neighbors who were throwing the bricks and rocks through the window." A police officer they knew stood by and did nothing, even when the neighbors pulled up a telephone and rammed it through their front door. 

So many Holocaust survivors are driven to keep talking about genocide in the hope that their voices and their memories will help prevent it from happening again.

"All I can say is again, over and over, that if you see here in the US, if you see bullying, or if you see prejudice, don't join the group. That's the worst thing," says Warsinger. "But also don't be an onlooker."

Never again, and never forget. That's the central message survivors are sounding three-quarters of a century after the world stood by and allowed this genocide to begin.

The Nazi's rounded up 30,000 Jews during Kristallnacht and sent them off to concentration camps like Dachau and Buchenwald.

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