October 29, 2018

Arts Event Marks 80th Anniversary of Anti-Nazi Catholic Broadcast

On Nov. 16, 1938, less than one week after Kristallnacht — “The Night of Broken Glass,” the night that most scholars mark as the beginning of the Holocaust — CBS and NBC radio joined forces for a live broadcast organized by The Catholic University of America.

The broadcast began with remarks from campus: “The world is witnessing a great tragedy in Europe today, and after sober, calm reflection, various groups and leaders of the Catholic Church have sought permission to raise their voices, not in mad hysteria, but in firm indignation against the atrocities visited upon the Jews in Germany,” said Rev. Maurice S. Sheehy, head of the University’s Department of Religious Education.

In the early 2000s, a University Archivist uncovered a recording of the original broadcast and had the audio transferred to a digital platform. The story of prominent Catholics speaking out against the horrors of the Holocaust was given a new life. It inspired scholars to study the historic recording and what it said about Catholic-Jewish relations at that time; and it inspired artists to creatively bring the story to new audiences.

On Nov. 16, 2018, the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art will host a Kristallnacht Commemoration event in Hartke Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The event will feature performances by faculty and students of musical selections by Jewish composers, and a composition written by Music Professor Joseph Santo. Santo incorporated texts from the radio program into a work entitled “Malachey Elyon” (Messengers of the Most High). During the event, Santo will speak about his composition and Education Archivist Maria Mazzenga will talk about her research of the recording.

Other speakers will include University President John Garvey; Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, dean of the School of Music, Drama, and Art; and Zion Evrony, former Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican and visiting professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

This event is free and open to the public. Read more about the discovery of this recording in Catholic U Magazine. Visit the Archives website to listen to the 1938 broadcast.

MEDIA: To schedule an interview or attend this event, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at communications@cua.edu or 202-319-5600.