On November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazi party organized a series of mob attacks throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and occupied areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, homes, and cemeteries were vandalized and destroyed in an event that has come to be known as Kristallnacht, or The Night of the Broken Glass. These two days are largely understood as the catalyzing event for the Holocaust.
Heeding the cry to “never forget” the atrocities of the Holocaust is Hallie Goldstein ’19. This past November, the psychology major was invited to the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust’s 81st commemoration of Kristallnacht in New York, which featured keynote speaker H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to share a declaration she helped develop as an Emerging Leader for the International March of the Living in Kraków, Poland, the previous spring.
“It was the honor of a lifetime,” recalls Goldstein. “Not only did I have the privilege of sharing this meaningful work with an audience full of dignitaries, but also to a room full of many of the remaining Holocaust survivors that are still living. It was chilling and incredibly humbling.” Following the presentation, Goldstein and her co-presenter Noah Tradonsky presented a framed copy of their work to Secretary Guterres.
Since 2014, Goldstein has been involved with the March of the Living, an annual educational program that brings delegations from around the world to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance, and hatred. Since its inception in 1988, more than 260,000 alumni from 52 countries have marched down the same three-kilometer path leading from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Emerging Leaders program of the March, of which Goldstein was part of the inaugural cohort, brought together young March for the Living alumni leaders from four continents to Poland to form a think tank that would address anti-Semitism across the globe.
“My experience as a part of the Emerging Leaders cohort has been a powerful continuation of my love for engaging in advocacy work in this arena. This served as an incredibly profound extension of my Scripps senior thesis, which set me up for the advocacy and personal work I would be continuing to engage with in the real world,” Goldstein says.
Her thesis, “Examining the Narrative Experience of Trauma for Holocaust Survivors and Their Offspring: A Qualitative Multi-Generational Study,” explores how traumas like genocide can be passed from one generation to the next. “My thesis combined my two biggest academic and personal passions—psychology and Holocaust studies/Jewish history. It addressed a topic that I have long felt profound curiosity towards given the number of people in my life who are direct descendants of Holocaust trauma,”she says. Goldstein plans to continue this research eventually in graduate school, where she hopes to study clinical psychology.
Goldstein now resides in Tel Aviv, where she is continuing her advocacy work, intensively studying Hebrew, and just completed an internship assisting teachers and therapists with rehabilitative work, specializing with low- to moderate-functioning special needs toddlers. She is also a member of the Alumni Ideas Board of the March of the Living based in Israel.
For Goldstein, remaining hopeful and working together with all communities that experience discrimination is the best strategy for resisting despair.
“I so often find myself feeling deeply resentful and angry at the reality that vast amounts of hatred and intolerance targeting countless identity groups are alive and well all over the world. I fervently and deliberately embrace my Jewish identity in honor of all the people who have suffered—it feels deeply personal to me even when my community is not the one being attacked,” Goldstein says. “We need to join forces in an effort to combat all forms of intolerance.”