MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - It was standing room only on Monday night at Northern Michigan University, as Holocaust survivor Martin Lowenberg shared his message about the value of love and the power of hate.
The 91 year-old was just 10 on Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass. It was the first of many violent attacks against the Jewish communities in Germany and Austria.
Kristallnacht happened almost exactly 81 years ago, on November 8 and 9, 1938.
"The screaming, the hollering in the streets, where they broke, where they smashed, Jewish shops, the windows, the homes," says Lowenberg. "I saw our synagogue, our house of worship, in flames. I'll never forget that."
He says antisemitism is still a problem in modern America, and across the world.
"Because of religion? That's not possible," says Lowenberg. "But unfortunately it is."
For that reason, he travels and speaks about his experiences, in the hopes that it never happens again.
The event was orchestrated by a local educator who met Lowenberg 12 years ago.
"I think today with all the divisiveness we have within our country and within our world, I think its time for us to hear that message of peace and prioritize what is really important," says Cynthia DePetro, a teacher at Marquette Alternative High School.
The German native now lives downstate, in Southfield, Mich.
He has four children, 14 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. Although he's never even met some of them, he loves them anyway.
"Hate, and hate is the worst word," says Lowenberg. "And why not love? Because love heals. But hate hurts."