Chapman University’s world-renowned program for Holocaust education is presenting an interfaith Service of Remembrance for Kristallnacht Thursday evening, November 9. The event will feature a conversation with Holocaust survivor and witness to Kristallnacht Engelina Lowenberg Billauer, as well as video clips from three other survivors of Kristallnacht. The event will take place in the Fish Interfaith Center on campus and is free and open to the public.

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Holocaust survivor and Kristallnacht witness Engelina Billauer

Now in its 10th year of presenting an interfaith Service of Remembrance for Kristallnacht, Chapman’s event this year is particularly meaningful as Holocaust survivor Engelina Billauer  –  a child at the time, recounts her experiences.  She is one of an increasingly small number of people who share the experience of witnessing Kristallnacht first hand.

“Our goal is always to bring a sense of how these events affected individual lives,” said Marilyn Harran, Ph.D., and director of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. “ Kristallnacht increasingly is an event we know about only through documentaries, oral testimonies, and history books. To hear it from a survivor is a powerful and unforgettable experience that makes real what may seem like distant history.  For Engelina, at the time only 11 years old, and living in Berlin, what occurred that night forever changed her life and the lives of her parents, brother, and sister.  In so many ways,” continues Professor Harran, “it marked ‘the beginning of the end’ for their life as a family.  It is also an event that makes us think about the importance of never choosing silence and inaction when we witness injustice.”

Dr. Marilyn Harran, Director, Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education and moderator for the interfaith Service of Remembrance for Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht literally means “night of crystal” in German, and generally is referred to as “the night of broken glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent and destructive anti-Jewish attacks that took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, Austria and areas of Czechoslovakia. Kristallnacht references the shards of shattered glass that lined the streets in the wake of the violence against Jewish homes and businesses on those two days in 1938.

The Kristallnacht commemoration is one of three signature events hosted by the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education each year; the others being the Holocaust Art and Writing Contest, and Holocaust Remembrance. The Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education is one of only a very few centers in the United States located in and supported by a private university.

The Kristallnacht Commemoration is held in partnership with Chapman’s Fish Interfaith Center and will take place Thursday, November 9, at 7 p.m. at the Wallace All Faiths Chapel. For more information, please visit:

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