Kristallnacht, the paroxysm of violence that subsumed Germany on the night of November 9-10, 1938, is considered by many to have been the first sign of the unfolding Holocaust. It is true that it occurred well before the Nazi policy of mass systematic murder of Jews – the “Final Solution” – coalesced, but, in retrospect, this expression of mass violence contained many of the seeds that would blossom into the Holocaust.

Nearly seven decades since that fateful night, and over six decades since the end of the Second World War, the events of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust can be seen to be resonating farther and deeper than ever before.

Peoples and agencies that only a few years ago shied away from confronting the Holocaust and its terrible repercussions have opened their hearts and their minds to it in an unprecedented way. There is a paradox in that the more removed we become from the period of the Holocaust, the more interest it seems to generate. Along with omnipresent shallow usage of the Holocaust, recently there appears to be a growing tendency to delve into the underlying issues raised by the Shoah, and move beyond the superficial. A number of examples illustrate this, cutting across borders and cultures, and including places that were only indirectly touched by the events of the Holocaust.