Wednesday marked the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the night of broken glass, during which a series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria involved the ransacking and torching of synagogues, Jewish homes and shops.
In remembrance of the day Deborah Lipstadt, professor of modern Jewish and holocaust studies at Emory University, shared the story of the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann, a war criminal responsible for the deaths of millions of Jewish people.
More than 150 of the La Verne community attended Lipstadt’s lecture on her book “The Eichman Trial.”
The story began with the father and daughter who were responsible for informing the prosecutor of the whereabouts of Eichmann, while he hid in Argentina until his capture in 1960.
The Israelis captured Eichmann but the true test was getting him back to Israel.
Eichmann was kidnapped from Argentina by the Israelis and brought back to Israel to stand trial for his horrible acts.
Lipstadt recalled various testimonies from those who were directly affected by the Holocaust.
“People were able to hear the story in the first person singular,” Lipstadt said.
She explained why it was significant for the trial to have people recall their personal experiences.
The Eichmann trial gave victims the right to be heard and also made it possible for the people to put a face on genocide.
Lipstadt told the audience of many powerful moments in the trial.
For instance, the prosecutor broke down in tears after reading a letter written by a man just as he was separated from his wife and children, Lipstadt said.
“We understand the impact of hearing the story of those who went through it,” Lipstadt said.
“Her story telling is what captured me,” said Crystal Gonzalez, a graduate student who attended the event.
Lipstadt also showed a brief video clip of the Israeli court beginning the trial.
She described in great detail the proceedings and decisions that led up to the final selection of judges and guards for the trial.
“I thought it was enlightening,” junior English major Gloria Perez-Caceres said. “It opened my eyes to a subject, and now I want to learn more.”
“What really stuck out to me was when she said ‘don’t identify yourself by a negative,’” senior theater arts major Ralph Saldana said.
“I thought it was amazing her overall coverage of the trial, and I thought she presented interesting points,” attendee Eugene Reinor said.
Tennille Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.