The vandalism and violence began on the evening of Nov. 9, 1938, and continued into Nov. 10.
Synagogues and Jewish businesses in Germany, Austria and other Nazi-controlled areas were destroyed and looted. The streets were lined with broken pieces of glass, and the event became known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass.
The Church of the Good Shepherd will join with members of the Jewish community to remember Kristallnacht at a special service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Episcopal church on Walton Way.
Kathleen Barnhart, chairperson for community and world ministries at the Church of the Good Shepherd, said the service has been done before, but it’s been several years.
“We just thought it was necessary to do it again,” she said.
Written by the late Rev. James Carpenter, who had served at the Church of the Good Shepherd, the service integrates Hebrew songs as well as the mourner’s kaddish, a Jewish prayer for the dead.
Before retiring to the Augusta area in the 1990s, Carpenter had spent 30 years in New York, where he was a seminary professor at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Manhattan.
While there, he created the Center for Jewish/Christian Studies and Relations, according to a Nov. 8, 2010, story in The Augusta Chronicle.
He first performed the Kristallnacht liturgy in 1988. It was observed in 2010, and Carpenter died in 2013.
Barnhart said they’ve joined with members of the Congregation Children of Israel for the event, and Rabbi Shai Beloosesky has been enthusiastic about the service.
“He’s heavily into this,” she said.
The service will also consist of several readings. The last time the congregation did the service it involved many of the teenagers in the church for the readings, she said.
Passing on the history to the younger generations is important, she said.
“I don’t know how much is taught about World War II in schools,” she said.
While Kristallnacht was supposedly a night of “spontaneous violence,” many of the rioters were members of the state police, Hitler Youth or SA dressed in civilian clothing, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website, which has a history of this event and others during the Holocaust.
The riots destroyed 267 synagogues. Firefighters watched as the buildings burned to the ground. They had received orders only to extinguish the flames if they threatened other buildings.
More than 7,500 businesses were vandalized, and at least 91 Jews were killed, according to the website.
The Kristallnacht service is open to all in the community, and there will be a reception following it.