EHEMALIGE SYNAGOGE ZELL
On 23. 4. 2015 first STUMBLING BLOCKS were layed in the area of the former synagogue community Zell, for those displaced and murdered under National Socialism.
In the sidewalk in front of their apartments and houses, the memory of the missing neighbors is kept alive.
The Circle of Friends of the Synagogue thanks all those, who have made these places of remembrance possible through sponsorships and donations.
For many years the Zell Museum has housed a remarkable permanent exhibition that extensively documents the lives of Zeller Jews in documents, photos, household items and cult objects of Jewish life.
The art project STOLPERSTEINE by the Cologne artist Gunter Demnig was first discussed in the circle of Friends of the Synagogue in 2002, but its implementation seemed a long way off. On the one hand, many stones were laid in the big cities so that bottlenecks and very long waiting periods occurred, on the other hand, the rural areas were having a hard time with the project. Diverse were the objections and concerns about this memorial project.
In 2013 the district administration of Cochem – Zell and the newspaper
„Wochenspiegel“ took of the topic and finally STOLPERSTEINE also in the district Cochem – Zell found the broad approval of the administration and the public.
In February 2014 a working group in the Friends of the Synagogue began again to project the STOLPERSTEINE for the Zell community.
On April 23, 2015, the first eight stones were laid for the Bermann / Frank and Wolf families in Zell, Geisel / Gamiel in Zell-Merl and for the politically persecuted Jakob Koch. Three more stones of the family Wolf from Merl have their provisional place in the Synagogue.
Survivors or descendants were informed and invited as far as they could be found. Some did or could not answer, others regretted not being able to start their journey, pointing to their old age.
The Bermann / Frank family traveled to Zell with twenty people.
Hilde Breitbart, granddaughter of Louise Frank, took the long journey from the USA at the age of 85, accompanied by her four children, grandchildren and grandchildren. Five descendants of Karl Bermann came from Israel.
Hilde Breitsbart’s speech in Zell Synagogue:
My name is Hilde Breitbart. My parents, Max and Mathilde Levi, lived in Bausendorf. My parents had two children, myself and Edgar, my younger brother. We lived a simple life – my parents owned a small general store and we lived in the house above the store.
My grandmother Louise lived with her sister Jenny here in Zell. At that time the immigration rules in the US were, that you had to have a relative to sponsor you, so you would not be a burden. We were fortunate to have an uncle in the US. He was the reason, we were able to leave the country.
My grandmother did not want to leave – she was the widow of a decorated war veteran. She said to us, why would I want to leave – I am the widow of war hero. Nothing will happen to us.
Unfortunately we know this not to be the case. In 1938 Louise and her sister were sent to Lodz, a Jewish Ghetto in Poland, shortly thereafter were sent to a concentration camp, where they were killed.
We are here today to honor their memories. And also to honor the wonderful project that Gunther has taken upon himself to do. I still get goose bumps on my arms, and my eyes tear, whenever I think about what he is doing. I can’t say enough about it. I would like to thank Herr de Jong for making all this possible for me and my family. I am very grateful to Frauke and to Franz for all their efforts on our behalf, thank you so much, Ruth.
But we are also here to celebrate. Celebrate the fact that my parents were smart enough, insightful enough, to realize what was happening, and were lucky enough to get to the United States.
I am also here to celebrate my family – I have four children, that have produced seven beautiful grandchildren, and to date I have six great grandchildren, three who have traveled here with us.
I am also here to celebrate that out of the ashes of holocaust, one the worst tragedies ever known to mankind, has risen this wonderful country. A democracy, who like the US, stands for life liberty and pursuit of happiness. A country that recognizes the rights of individuals. That strives not to allow hate of one’s fellow man.
Today, unfortunately, that hate has risen it’s ugly face. There are those that use a twisted version of their religion to promote hate, death and destruction. Anti Semitism is rearing it’s ugly head here in Europe and around the world. I don’t know why, but what I do know is this:
WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS HATE TO CONTINUE.
We must remember and keep alive the memories of the holocaust, as an example of what hate can do, and we must join together, all of us around the world, to fight to eliminate this from mankind.
Thank you for allowing me this time to talk with you.