Change Agents 1/6/22: Kristalalnacht, the book “The Night of Broken Glass” & anti-Semitism in USA schools including Maine schools

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Conversations with Human Right Activists: Discussion of Kristalalnacht, the book “The Night of Broken Glass” & anti-Semitism in USA schools including Maine schools

CONTENT WARNING: During our interview we read experts from the book The Nights of Broken Glass. The book contains many first person accounts of Kristtalnacht. The readings are deeply disturbing.

In the second part of the interview we discussed the disturbing level of anti-Jewish comments and so-called jokes about Jews in middle and high school. Many of the jokes are about the Holocaust. We ended the interview by discussing how to reduce the incidence of degrading comments and jokes about Jews and also about people of color, girls and women, LGBTQ people, Muslims and immigrants….


Amy Sneirson has been the Maine Human Rights Commission’s Executive Director since late 2011. Prior to that, Amy practiced law with a focus on employment, education, and civil rights issues in private firm, nonprofit agency, and state attorney general settings in both Maine and Missouri. Originally from Massachusetts, Amy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester in New York and her law degree from the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mike Levey, a retired lawyer from Winthrop ME. In 1976, Michael J. Levey began private practice in Winthrop, Maine, as a primary care general practice lawyer, , principally under the name of Levey and Wagley, PA (now Levey, Wagley, Putman and Eccher, PA).. In mid-2019, after 43 years in that practice, he transitioned into full retirement.
He served on Maine’s Family Law Advisory Commission for nine years, having been appointed to the Commission by Chief Justices Daniel Wathen and Leigh Saufley of the Supreme Court of Maine. He also served on Maine’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse for three years, having been appointed to the Commission by Governor Angus King.
In 2006, he was awarded the MSBA Family Law Section’s Outstanding Achievement Award and the Maine Judicial Department’s Advocate for Justice Award. He was awarded the Volunteer Lawyers Project Director’s Award in 2017.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.