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Israel Marks 70th Anniversary of 'Kristallnacht'

It is a black anniversary in Israel, as the nation takes a painful look back at the Holocaust. Tragic anniversary was also marked in Germany and Austria, which Nazis had occupied months earlier. Robert Berger reports from VOA's bureau in Jerusalem.

Israel marked the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-inspired riots in which hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses were ransacked in Germany and Austria.

Holocaust survivor, Gerhard Mashkovski:

"They robbed everything out of the store and the synagogue was burning", said Gerhard Mashkovski.

Some 30,000 Jewish men and boys were arrested in the two-day pogrom and sent to concentration camps.

Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and the German and Austrian ambassadors to Israel attended a solemn ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial here in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Austrian Ambassador, Michael Rendi:

"This year, Austria took over the presidency in the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, on Holocaust remembrance, on research," Ambassador Rendi. "I think it says and it shows that we have learned a very painful lesson. And the knowledge that is given on to the next generations is the key."

Kristallnacht, which means "Night of the Broken Glass," is seen as the beginning of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II. On Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel "will never forgive or forget" the atrocities of Adolph Hitler's Germany.