Indiana State University Newsroom

Lectures, music, dramatic performances, exhibits and films mark Holocaust anniversary

October 13, 2015

Indiana State University, in collaboration with the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, is sponsoring a week of lectures, music, dramatic performances, exhibits and films during "Night of Broken Glass: Remembering the Holocaust," Nov. 9-14.

Nearly 80 years ago -- on Nov. 9-10, 1938 -- Nazis in Germany and Austria torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed nearly 100 Jews. These violent events, called Kristallnacht or "Night of Broken Glass," ended with nearly 30,000 Jewish men arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps.

While German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933 when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, until Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent. After Kristallnacht, however, conditions grew increasingly worse. The events are seen as a turning point in Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to annihilate all of Europe's Jews.

Organizers of "Night of Broken Glass: Remembering the Holocaust" chose Kristallnacht as a starting point for a broader examination of the Holocaust and genocide.

"The Holocaust is one of the most effective subjects for examining fundamental moral issues. By learning about the Holocaust, we can begin to understand the roots and ramification of prejudice and racism," said Dorothy Chambers, program director at CANDLES. "We can appreciate the value of diversity in our society, and we can explore the dangers of remaining indifferent to the oppression of others. The Holocaust demonstrates how important it is to be a humane and responsible citizen."

On his inspiration for "Night of Broken Glass," Indiana State Associate Professor of art and design Brad Venable said, "It really was a result of playing the character of Jan Karski in Arthur (Feinsod)'s play "Coming to See Aunt Sophie," visiting Poland and realizing how much I didn't know. The importance of history, of Karski and the events of the Holocaust appear to be the historical fabric of the people in that country. It seemed to me that many here in the U.S., including myself, understand the Holocaust through a very limited lens. It seemed important that all of us should understand it more."

"Night of Broken Glass" events start at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 in the Bayh College of Education's University Hall Theater with a keynote address, "The Lesson of Kristallnacht: The Importance of Speaking Up for All Groups Targeted with Bias, Hate and Violence," by human rights educator Steven Wessler.

Wessler "has worked tirelessly around the United States and Europe to resolve conflicts between people across religious, political, social and economic divides," said Feinsod, professor of theater at Indiana State and an organizer of the "Night of Broken Glass" programs. "For decades, he has worked to expose and combat underlying intolerance and prejudice that can so easily lead to denied rights and violence."

As the keynote speaker for "Night of Broken Glass," Wessler will draw on his recent experiences and reflect on the parallels and lessons of Kristallnacht for today.

The United Hebrew Congregation will host two presentations at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 at 540 S. Sixth St.: "My Memories of Kristallnacht" by Walter Sommers, Holocaust survivor and docent at CANDLES; and "Czech Survivor # 32379," about a Torah saved from a synagogue fire in 1938, by Scott Skillman of the United Hebrew Congregation.

Indiana State's Cunningham Memorial Library will exhibit "Whoever Saves a Single Life: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust" throughout the month of November. This temporary exhibit, on loan from the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, highlights some of the rare but important instances where people chose to safeguard their Jewish fellow citizens during the Holocaust.

Christopher Fischer, Indiana State history professor, will present "Kristallnacht as Turning Point: Jewish Lives and Nazi Policy" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 in the Cunningham Memorial Library events room. The lecture will place Kristallnacht in its broader context and sketch out how it set the stage for what was to follow.

Later that day -- at 5 and 8 p.m. in the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts recital hall -- Indiana University Professor Dale McFadden will direct the play, "Coming to See Aunt Sophie," written by Feinsod and highly regarded by reviewers in Chicago, Poland, Australia and its debuting location, Terre Haute.

At 7:30 p.m., the Indiana State Wind Orchestra, conducted by Roby G. George, will perform a concert of reflection in Tilson Hall Auditorium. The concert will feature an opening performance of the theme from Steven Spielberg's epic film, "Schindler's List," performed by faculty with guest violin soloist, Erik Rohde. Also in the program is the composition "Night" by Robert Rumbelow, based on impressions evoked by the novel "Night" by 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel.

The first half of the program ends with a performance of Scott McAllister's "Black Dog," featuring clarinet soloist Paul Green. Green, a Jewish-American artist, will perform the second half of the concert with a faculty jazz ensemble led by pianist John Spicknall, with music based on the klezmer style.

Wednesday, Nov. 11 is packed with programs, beginning with a talk on Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," which he composed in a prisoner of war camp in Nazi-controlled Silesia. Professor Terry Dean of Indiana State's School of Music will give the presentation, which will begin at 11 a.m. in the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts recital hall.

At noon in the Whitaker Room at Bayh College of Education, Brett Ashley Kaplan from the University of Illinois will present "Arno Breker: The Afterlife of Fascist Aesthetics." Arno Breker (1900-1991) gained notoriety as "Hitler's favorite sculptor" for his works that typified Nazi racist ideologies and the might of the Third Reich.

Indiana State professors Isaac Land (history) and Brendan Corcoran (English) will consider "Genocide: New Questions, Fresh Perspectives" at 3:30 p.m. in Cunningham Memorial Library's events room. They will explore what we can learn from communities where diverse groups coexist for centuries and how past genocides shape us and our expectations for the present and future.

Feinsod will direct Indiana State theater students in English Professor Laura Bates' "Letters from Camp," a staged reading based on letters between Bates' mother and two men while they were interned in different refugee camps during and just after World War II. "Letters from Camp" will be performed at 5 and 8 p.m. in the Landini Center. Bates has received rave reviews and considerable national attention for her book "Shakespeare Saved My Life."

On Thursday, Nov. 12, a special exhibit, "Children's Art from the Terezin Concentration Camp," will open in Indiana State's Turman Gallery with a reception at 4:30 p.m. Organized and curated by Venable, this exhibit will showcase drawings and paintings of children imprisoned in the Czech camp from 1942-1944, most of whom were later exterminated at Auschwitz.

Immediately following the reception, Susan K. Leshnoff of the department of art, music and design at Seton Hall University, will provide a context for the children's drawings in her lecture, "Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children's Art of Theresienstadt: What the Pictures Reveal" at 6 p.m. in the Landini Center.

Friday programs begin at 5 p.m. in the Cunningham Memorial Library's events room with "Seen for Syria," a lecture on the art therapy and education initiative for the Syrian refugee children in Jordan created by Soulaf Abas, Indiana State lecturer in the department of art and design.
For middle school and high school students, the Vigo County Public Library will host the film, "The Book Thief" (PG-13) in the library's Teen Space at 6 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Landini Center, the Indiana State School of Music's Faculty Chamber Music ensemble will perform the "Quartet for the End of Time" by Olivier Messiaen and "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" by School of Music Director Paul Bro.

The week will conclude on Saturday at CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, where Eva Mozes Kor, founder of the museum and Auschwitz survivor, will share her story at 1 p.m. At 4 p.m., the museum will host a screening of "The Ghosts of Rwanda," followed by a discussion led by Indiana State English Professor Brendan Corcoran.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, go to


Media Contacts: Dorothy Chambers, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center 812-234-7881 or or Brad Venable, department of art and design, Indiana State University,

Story Highlights

Organizers of "Night of Broken Glass: Remembering the Holocaust" chose Kristallnacht as a starting point for a broader examination of the Holocaust and genocide. For more information, go to

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