TORONTO — The Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce apologized last week to anyone who was offended by its choice to hold a gala dinner on Nov. 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, but said it will commemorate the Nazi pogrom at the event.
B’nai Brith Canada had issued a statement Oct. 29 saying the choice of date was in “bad taste.”
“The sanctity of the anniversary coupled with the pledge never to forget the victims of the Holocaust should have been enough to dissuade the organizers from selecting Nov. 9,” CEO Frank Dimant said.
However, the Canadian German group’s president and CEO, Thomas Beck, said the date for the event, titled Night of a Thousand Stars, was chosen because it’s the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“The chamber’s gala dinner will bring together the Canadian German business community and, therefore, offer an opportunity to recall both – the Holocaust as well as the relief about the end of the Cold War and the end of the Iron Curtain that separated Europe,” Beck said.
He noted that prior to the event, German Consul General Walter Stechel will take part in a commemoration of Kristallnacht, known as the Night of Broken Glass, as part of Holocaust Education Week, and he’ll address dinner guests about the anniversary and hold a moment of silence.
“We hope that in this way, by drawing the attention of our members and friends to the historic resonance of this day, we can do justice to its ambivalence and offer our respect to the victims of this greatest crime against humanity that started on Nov. 9, 1938,” Beck said.
B’nai Brith spokesperson Sam Eskenasi said his group is satisfied with the response of the chamber of commerce to its concerns, adding that B’nai Brith would be happy to work with it in the future on these kinds of issues.