This week is the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – in English it’s known as the night of broken glass. The events of that night mark the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe and one Indiana woman was there.
The evening of Nov. 9, 1938 Ruth Rives was walking through Berlin with her mother, when their conversation was cut short by the sounds of shattering glass bursting into the streets.
“Then I remember the furniture came out of windows, and my mother was smart enough to leave.”
SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish citizens burned synagogues, demolished Jewish owned store fronts and imprisoned thousands of Jewish citizens. Ruth’s life was forever changed.
“You had to follow some stupid rules, you didn’t know why, everything you had learned in good manners was now not for everybody, but for certain people, but they did not explain.”
Ruth left Germany 13 years later and came to the United States in 1959.
“I must say because of my upbringing I am very very much against any kind of discrimination. If I just sense it I can step in, and I’m not very nice about it. Because I’ve experienced it and I want this to be stopped.”