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Hundreds turn out in Louisville tonight to remember a horrific event in global history. Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, when German Nazis destroyed Jewish synagogues and businesses and killed 91 people.
Hans Bensinger has made Louisville his home for the past 60 years. But he can recall the day Germany secret police came to the door looking for his father, a night that signaled the start of a systematic purge of Jews in Europe that would turn to genocide.
"Kristalnacht means the night of the broken glass. The importance of commemorating it, for the world not to forget what happened to us," said said Hans Bensinger, a survivor.
Bensinger was 10-years-old when Nazis began a unified assault against German Jews on November 9, 1938.
The Nazis smashed windows of Jewish businesses and homes and killed 91 people and arrested thousands more.
"They burned every synagogue in sight," said Bensinger.
The next day, Hans was greeted at the door by the German secret police who were looking for his father.
"I remember very well it was six in the evening and they said were coming for Mr. Bensinger. When my mother called the jail the next day they said he's gone. We didn't know where," said Bensinger.
Several days later, his family received a postcard from his father. He had been taken to the Dachau concentration camp, where he stayed until he was released in late November.
"He told them we are releasing you now if you don't get out of Germany. You're coming back here. You're never going to be released we'll kill you," said Bensinger.
Hans Bensinger told a crowd of nearly 300 Sunday that his family would eventually escape to Bolivia where he was raised.
The Kristalnacht program mirrored several that took place around the globe Sunday, including one at the Vatican where a crowd was addressed by Pope Benedict.
80-year-old Bensinger now lives in Louisville and represents a generation of survivors who are slowly dying off. That's why he says it's important to remember what happened.
"The hatred, the hatred it comes up periodically and usually against defenseless people," said Bensinger.
Bensinger says his father who was a German combat veteran always struggled with how his country turned against him almost overnight.