Friday night we had the privilege of being a part of a ceremony to remember the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. This was the systematic destruction of Jewish synagogues, businesses and other properties throughout Germany by Nazi leaders and paramilitary police forces. (This era in history was an unintentional theme for us recently, with visits to Berchtesgaden and Nuremburg earlier in the month.)
While I certainly was aware of the events of the Kristallnacht, I was a bit naïve to think these horrors only happened in large cities such as Berlin or Nuremburg. Even Jewish people in our area were victims of this violence. This memorial stands at the Synagogueplatz. The Synagogue was never rebuilt but the space remains.
This year the remembrance event began in the local church with a short service. Leadership from the local Catholic and Protestant congregations spoke and a choir shared two pieces of music. The attendees then left the church and each person was given a white rose. We walked to the Synagogueplatz and laid the flowers on the memorial, then proceeded to the Jewish cemetery.
Along the way we passed some stumbling stones. These were placed just last year to remember those Jewish people who lived throughout the city. These small brass plaques placed in the sidewalk give the names and fates of the former residents. The three members of this family were all deported to concentration camps – two to Theresienstadt and one to Auschwitz.
At the cemetery there were a few more words and prayers, and then we departed with heavy hearts. Once again this phrase was on my mind: Never Forget.