Certainty in Uncertain Times

Yael Eckstein  |  November 7, 2022

The day after Kristallnacht
(Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

As the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, I learned about the Holocaust from those who had experienced its horrors firsthand.

I remember wondering as a child why most Jews in Europe had not seen what was coming and fled to safer countries while they still could. However, now I understand that the Holocaust did not happen overnight. It was preceded by decades of gradually escalating anti-Semitism and deteriorating conditions. Most Jews adapted as circumstances slowly changed and believed that the hard times would pass.

The Night of Broken Glass

There was one watershed moment, known as Kristallnacht, which sounded the alarm. We commemorate Kristallnacht, or the “Night of the Broken Glass,” on November 9 every year. On that infamous night in 1938, German officials and citizens attacked Jews all over Germany, ransacking and destroying Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues.

The facts are staggering: During one night, hundreds of synagogues were destroyed. More than 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, nearly 100 Jews were murdered, and 30,000 Jews were forced into concentration camps. Nazi authorities withheld help while synagogues burned and defenseless Jews were attacked. Ordinary citizens joined the assault, while others watched without uttering a word of protest.

Kristallnacht stands out not only because it was the event that marked the beginning of the end for some European Jews, but also because it was a horrendous incident that received far too little condemnation. When the night was over, and the incident became known to the world, there was no outrage; most turned a blind eye. Many historians believe that the failure of the international community to speak out in November 1938 emboldened the Nazis and paved the way for the outbreak of WWII less than a year later.

Protesting Evil and Injustice

The annual commemoration of Kristallnacht is a somber reminder of the responsibility we have to protest evil and injustice whenever we are witness to it. We must understand that we have enormous power, especially when we stand together, to stop evil and bring about positive change.

I believe this is something Israel’s Christian friends truly understand. In the past few years alone, we in Israel have noticed how you have spoken up for us. You have spoken out against those who slander Israel and you have encouraged America to take brave steps in support of Israel, most notably America’s groundbreaking recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Your voices matter, and we are so grateful that you have chosen to use them on behalf of Israel.

In these uncertain times, I am thankful for the things that we can be certain about, that we can count on. Among those things is the unwavering support of the Christian community for Israel and the Jewish people. No matter what lies ahead, I know that you will use your voice as a powerful force to help Israel, as you always have.

Thank you for continuing to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Thank you for continuing to speak up on behalf of Israel. Together, we will continue to use our combined voices to spread hope, share God’s love, and be a source of blessing to the world.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

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