The Night of Broken Glass

Armando Padron, Staff Writer

On November 13, 2019  Teaneck High School hosted an assembly to remember Kristallnacht with a speaker by the name of Jerry Reuter who was a survivor of the Holocaust who told students about his life. 

During His speech he told students what life was like, like how his dad was a furrier and when he died in a motorcycle accident when Mr. Reuter was 5 or 6 years old and his family lost everything and moved to moved from East Berlin to West Berlin. 

Students also learned that Mr. Reuter was the youngest and  he had an older brother and sister. He attended public school around 1936 and how the Hitler Youth wore their yellow shirts with red armband and would wait after school to beat them up. 

Students learned that on November 9, 1938 the first synagogue to burn was his and by the next day he saw Jewish owned stores were destroyed with the word “Juden” written on them , by then he attended a Jewish school even though it was damaged it was still open and how his family had rationing cards that had “J” printed on them. The “J” was visible at any angle and how they got half the food that people would get if they weren’t Jewish. 

Mr. Reuter told students that in the middle of 1938 he and his brother, with 8 or 10 other people, got on a train with false papers. Students learned that he was going to go to Holland and Switzerland but was stopped at the border by the S.S. and he and his brother were separated and never saw each other again. 

Mr. Reuter spoke to students about how he ended up going to Buchenwald in 1940 and later on went to Auschwitz and he was tattooed with the number 107279. He was just 16 years old and his job was taking bodies out of the gas chambers. Years later he would be freed by General Patton’s tanks after doing a death march and hiding for three months in the woods.