Cherry Hill resident continues journey with Kristallnacht witness

Hanover helping Behrend celebrate special anniversaries tied to film project.

At his Voorhees home, 92-year-old Fred Behrend, who authored the 2017 book “Rebuilt from Broken Glass,” which is slated to become a documentary thanks to a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Cherry Hill, holds up a Seder plate from 1710 whose image is featured on the book’s front cover. Behrend, along with friend and Cherry Hill author Larry Hanover, will celebrate a spate of events surrounding the subject of the book as well as his personal life in early November.

The long and winding road which binds Cherry Hill resident and author Larry Hanover and Voorhees resident Fred Behrend continues on, this time with a positive reminder of life’s sweetness. 

“Rebuilt from Broken Glass,” the organization named after Hanover’s book about Behrend, a native German of Jewish ancestry who witnessed “Kristallnacht” when he was just 12 years old, is expected to have a film added to the organization’s roster.

However, the goal of an official release is still, according to Hanover, “a couple years away.”

As such, Hanover invites the public to a fundraiser for the production of the movie version of “Broken Glass,” set to take place on Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees. 

Included in the evening are music, food and a showing of the film’s teaser. As a special enticement, Behrend is expected to be reunited with Rabbi Avraham Glustein of Politz Day School for the first time since Glustein connected Behrend with an acquaintance on Nov. 9, 2018 – 80 years to the day since their last meeting as the infamous Night of Broken Glass signaled the start of the systematic oppression of Jews by the Nazi regime. 

In addition, on Saturday, Nov. 9, during 10 a.m. services at Beth El, a celebration of the 80th anniversary of Behrend’s bar mitzvah and Kristallnacht commemoration will take place.  

At that time, Hanover said, Behrend will be called to the Torah for his official bar mitzvah honor. A Torah rescued from the Holocaust will be used, while the former will read from it using the yad (Torah pointer) that the latter’s father found on the street during Kristallnacht. 

The pair will then speak at Rutgers University Hillel in New Brunswick, the following day, Sunday, Nov. 10. 

Back in May, The Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. gave Hanover and Broken Glass Media, LLC a $3,000 grant toward the continuation of fundraising efforts for the film project. That month, a teaser trailer for the movie premiered in front of local officials, members of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and partner Arts Guild of New Jersey. 

When Hanover spoke to The Sun about the grant and his friend last spring, he hinted there might be a special anniversary celebration for Behrend to come. Given Behrend’s fighting spirit, Hanover had no doubt his friend would live long enough and be strong enough to celebrate. 

“It continues to be an amazing journey for both Fred and me. I’ve come to realize that people respond to him both because of his warm personality and the fact he’s history you can get to know and even give a hug. The community’s incredible response has made me more certain than ever that it’s not a matter of if, but when, for this film,” Hanover stated to The Sun on Oct. 17. 

For tickets to the Nov. 6 event, visit  https://bethelsnj.wufoo.com/forms-fred-behrends-bar-mitzvah. Cost is $36. For additional information about both events, contact Hanover at brokenglass1938@gmail.com.

More information on the “Broken Glass” project can be found at https://www.artsguildnj.org/rebuilt-from-broken-glass-2/.