MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The South Florida community observed the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, considered the night the Holocaust began.
On November 9, 1938, also known as “The Night of Broken Glass,” Nazis damaged and destroyed thousands of Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues in Germany and Austria leaving streets covered in glass. It was also the first time, tens of thousands of Jews were sent to concentration camps.READ MORE: Miami-Dade, Broward County Public Schools To Continue Free Summer Food Distribution
“I remember the trauma. I remember the noise. I remember the crying and the carrying on, and I certainly remember my father being frightened by the Gestapo that attacked him. I remember that vividly,” said Wendy Rothfield who was a toddler living in Austria in 1938. She and her parents moved from country to country to escape the Nazis. “Only my mother my father and I, the rest of the family unfortunately were murdered by the Nazis. We were lucky we were able to escape,” she said.
Rothfield is the Kristallnacht Program chair. The Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, a committee of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation has been holding the event for more than two decades.READ MORE: WalletHub Survey Ranks Florida Second Most 'Fun State'; Miami Nightlife: 'Anything, But Affordable'
Despite their pain, Holocaust survivors want to share their stories.
“I’m the only one survived from my family,” said David Mermelstein, who was liberated from a concentration camp at age 16. “That’s the reason we do what we do, to make sure it’s not forgotten,” he added.MORE NEWS: SEE IT: Puppy Back With Owner After Dognapping At West Miami-Dade Animal Clinic Caught On Cam
“This happened yesterday but we want to prevent tomorrow,” said Rothfield.