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Abbey marks Kristallnacht 75th Anniversary

Monday, 11th November 2013

Abbey marks Kristallnacht 75th Anniversary

A Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope to mark the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht was held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 10th November 2013.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall who said in his Bidding:

Seventy-five years after the terrible pogrom against the Jews by the Nazi regime on the night of 9th–10th November 1938, a night we know as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, we gather for a solemn act of remembrance. We shall hear of the experience of those days, and we shall mourn again not only the victims of that night, but all the victims of Nazi persecution.
Here in this holy and royal place, known as the House of God and House of Kings, at the centre of our national life, where over more than a thousand years countless occasions have been known of celebration and mourning, we shall pray, each in our own tradition, Jews and Christians together, sharing a common experience of worship of the one God, our prayer together itself a sign of hope.
We shall pray for communities divided by war and hatred, for people under the threat of persecution, for a growth in mutual understanding and respect throughout the world between the children of Abraham and between those of faith and of no faith, and, wherever there is despair for hope, above all for trust in the God who makes and loves his people.

During the service the Shoah candelabra from Belsize Square Synagogue was processed through the Abbey Church.

Ruth Rosen read A Reflection, John Izbicki read a Testimony, Rabbi Helen Freeman, Principal Rabbi, West London Synagogue, read Lamentations 1: 1-4, 7; Lilian Levy read a Testimony, Victor Greenberg read a Testimony, and the Reverend Dr Robert Reiss, Canon Emeritus of Westminster, read St Matthew 5: 1-10.

Stephen Douse, tenor, and the choirs of the Belsize Square and West London synagogue sang Shomeir Israel during which six memorial candles were lit by Ann Kirk, survivor of Kristallnacht; Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, Rabbi, Belsize Square Synagogue; the Reverend David Stanton, Canon in Residence, Westminster Abbey; Dr Norman Walter, Minister, Germany Embassy, London; His Excellency Daniel Taub, Israeli Ambassador to the Court of St James’; and Joshua Kirk, grandson of Ann Kirk.

The Address was given by Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi, West London Synagogue.

Paul Heller, Cantor, Belsize Square Synagogue, chanted El Malei Rachamim and Rabbi Helen Freemen led Kaddish and The Canticle.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster and also said by the Right Reverend Nigel McCullough KCVO.

Shirley Vaughan, soprano, accompanied by Gemma Rosenfeld, cello, and the Zemel Choir and the Choirs of Belsize Square and West London synagogues sang Through A Glass Darkly composed for the service by Cecilia McDowell.

The service was sung by the Choirs of Belsize Square Synagogue, the West London Synagogue, the Belsize Square Youth Choir, the Belsize Square Synagogue Community Choir and the Zemel Choir conducted by Benjamin Wolf and Christopher Bowers-Broadbent.

The organ was played before and after the service by Peter Holder, Organ Scholar.

See also:

The Address given by Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi, West London Synagogue

The Order of Service (PDF, 552 KB)

The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.


Tim - Gardener

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