80 years later

The 9th of November is an important day for Germans (often referred to as ‘Schicksalstag der Deutschen‘) as many things in younger history happened on this day (including the opening of the Berlin Wall as the last important event in 1989). In 2018 there are two important anniversaries: 100 years earlier World War I ended and there are many festivities concerning this. But it is also 80 years since the Novemberpogrome when synagogues were destroyed throughout Germany and Holocaust started.

At Hann. Münden this state-directed terror started one day earlier as it swapped over from Kassel where the synagogue was already destroyed on November 7th. It was the late evening of November the 8th, 1938 when less than a dozen men broke into the home of the Jewish community of Hann. Münden at Hinterstraße 7 (now Hinter der Stadtmauer 23), destroyed what they could find and opened the synagogue in the backyard.

They took the Thora and everything they could carry to the river island Tanzwerder and burned it there. The location of the synagogue in a backyard protected it from being set on fire. This would probably have caused a larger fire in the city centre full of half-timbered houses. The synagogue was later used as a warehouse and it was destroyed in 1973 for building a new storage at the same place. Next morning 22 Jewish citizens were arrested and deported to Göttingen. The beginning of dark times.

‘In Todesangst verbrachten
gequälte Menschen, wenige Meter von hier,
hinter der Mauer des Rathauses, 1942
die letzten Stunden in ihrer Heimatstadt.

Wir gedenken der Mündener Bürger
Jüdischen Glaubens, die in unserer Mitte
gedemütigt, ihrer Menschenrechte beraubt,
misshandelt und zur Ermordung
deportiert worden.

Wir gedenken auch derer, die in den Freitod
getrieben oder zum Verlassen ihrer Heimat
gezwungen wurden.

Wir bitten um Vergebung und Frieden.
Wir bitten um Mut, dass wir nicht schweigen,
wenn Menschen neben uns
entwürdigt werden.’
— Inscription on the memorial

Today there is a memorial at the back of the old town hall. It is the place where once the police and their jail were located and it was created in 1999. On the 9th of November each year people meet there (men wearing hats), remember and put stones on the top of the memorial (according to Jewish tradition). A good and important ceremony!

Rathaus Hann. Münden
Hann. Münden, Germany


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