Global ‘Let There Be Light’ Campaign to Illuminate Message Against Antisemitism on Kristallnacht Anniversary

Jerusalem's Old City walls illuminated as part of the International March of the Living's "Let There Be Light" campaign in 2020. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi.

November 7, 2021


Kristallnacht — or “Night of Broken Glass” — was an ominous turning point in the lead-up to the Holocaust, after which the mass genocide of the Jews by the Nazis became almost an inevitability.

The violent pogrom perpetrated by Adolf Hitler’s regime on November 9-10, 1938, saw hundreds of synagogues burned across Germany and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses damaged or destroyed. At least several dozen Jews were murdered and around 30,000 were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

This Tuesday night, on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, thousands of houses of worship, public institutions, and private residences around the world will remain illuminated as part of the International March of the Living’s “Let There Be Light” initiative.

The message of this global campaign, now in its second year, has become even more relevant amid surging Jew-hatred worldwide, Dr. Shmuel Rosenman — chair of the International March of the Living — told the Combat Antisemitism Movement.

One of the International March of the Living’s purposes is to “fight antisemitism by increasing knowledge and education about the Holocaust,” he noted.

Chair of the International March of the Living Dr. Shmuel Rosenman.


“The catalyst of what happened in the Holocaust was Kristallnacht,” Rosenman recalled. “If in 1938 there had been a strong negative reaction from the leaders of the world, maybe the course of history could have been changed in a certain way.”

“But when you talk to people now, how many people know what Kristallnacht was, and how many people know what happened?” he continued. “Kristallnacht is symbol of what happens when antisemitism goes unchecked. We need to educate and activate the community to commemorate the past and ensure a better future. So we decided to highlight this very important piece of history.”

Last year, more than 10,000 people of different faiths from over 110 countries took part in the inaugural “Let There Be Light” campaign.

Among the prominent sites lit up with images commemorating Kristallnacht were Jerusalem’s Old City walls and the Coventry Cathedral in the United Kingdom, and several world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, shared messages.

The United Kingdom’s Coventry Cathedral illuminated as part of the International March of the Living’s “Let There Be Light” campaign in 2020. Photo: Sam Churchill.


“People saw the campaign, and the positivity and optimism of the message, ‘Let there be light over the darkness of hate,’ resonated with them,” Rosenman said.

This year, there will be major public displays in at least five European cities, including Thessaloniki, Greece, where the municipality building will be illuminated.

Rosenman emphasized the importance of expanding Holocaust education as the number of survivors dwindles.

“It’s the only way people will grasp what happened,” he said.

For more information on how you can participate in the “Let There Be Light” campaign, visit: motl.org/kristallnacht