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Westminster Abbey marks Kristallnacht anniversary

Friday, 9th November 2018

Westminster Abbey marks Kristallnacht anniversary

A Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope on the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht was held at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 8th November 2018.

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

Five years ago we marked in a service here at Westminster Abbey the seventy-fifth anniversary of the attack on the Jews by the Nazi regime on the night of 9th—10th November 1938, the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht.
Now we gather again to mark the 80th anniversary of that night, itself a terrible foreshadowing of the Holocaust. Again, from survivors, we shall hear memories of that event, and once more we shall mourn with respect and love not only the victims of that night but all the victims of Nazi persecution.
Here in this holy place at the centre of our national life, we shall pray together as we worship the one God sharing a common experience. We shall pray for a growth in mutual respect and understanding between the children of Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We shall pray for trust in the God who makes and loves his people. Our prayer together will itself be a sign of hope.

The Address was given by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue and Rabbi to Masorti Judaism.

Rabbi Dr Stuart Altshuler, Belsize Square Synagogue, read Psalm 103:1-12; and the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence, and Co-Chair, The Council of Christians and Jews (Central London Branch), read St Matthew 5: 1-10.

Rabbi Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi, West London Synagogue, read a Reflection; and Testimonies were read by Bea Green, Freddie Knoller, and Leslie Brent, Holocaust survivors.

Paul Heller, Cantor, Belsize Square Synagogue, and the Choirs of West London Synagogue and Belsize Square Synagogue, the Belsize Square Synagogue Community Choir, and the Zemel Choir, sang Shema Koleinu during which six memorial candles were lit by: Michael Newman, Chief Executive, the Association of Jewish Refugees; Lilian Levy, survivor, with her daughter Hilary Solomon; Rolf Penzias, survivor; The Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence; Julia Gross, representing His Excellency Peter Wittig, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Court of St James’s; and His Excellency Mark Regev, Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Court of St James’s.

Paul Heller, Cantor, chanted El Malei Rachamim; and Rabbi Helen Freemen, Principal Rabbi, West London Synagogue, and Co-Chair, The Council of Christians and Jews (Central London Branch), led Kaddish and the Canticle.

The Belsize Square Synagogue Youth Choir sang Guten Abend by Louis Lewandowski from Deutscher Schullieder 1864.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor of Westminster.

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 by Cecilia McDowell for the seventy-fifth anniversary service in 2013.

The service was sung by the choirs of West London and Belsize Square Synagogues, and the Zemel Choir, conducted by Dr Benjamin Wolf and Christopher Bowers-Broadbent.

The organ was played by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.


Order of Service for A Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht (PDF 539KB)


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I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

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Pamela - Rector's Secretary

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