Carole Blueweiss

When History Comes Alive

Remembrance: The commemoration of victims of the Nazi dictatorship with the laying of “Stumbling Blocks” is accompanied by 200 interested people in Ellwangen. They experienced a reunion with the Levi family. By Gerhard Königer.

Ellwangen. Hardly anyone would have expected that so many people would be interested in laying the “Stolpersteine.” There was no way to get through Schmiedstrasse until Tina Principi played a piece from Schindler’s List on the violin. Frank Keller from the Stolpersteine Initiative thanks everyone involved, especially the artist Gunter Demnig, who has saved the names of the victims from oblivion with the Stolpersteine he created

“One bows when one sees what the inscription reads” – Mayor Volker Grab

Mayor Volker Grab emphasized the special character of the “stumbling blocks” embedded in the pavement: “You bow down when you read the inscription, the stones give the individual a face.”

Five stones were laid for the Levi family in front of the Kicherer house. Peter Maile spoke about the Jewish family, who ran a cattle trade until they emigrated in 1938. Michael, Erich Levi’s son, traveled from New York with his wife and two children. He emphasized that the Kicherer sisters needed a lot of courage to rent an apartment to Jews even under the National Socialists. “We all have to have courage in this world,” he said, concluding with the title of a film directed by Spike Lee: “I hope we all do the right thing.”

Simon Hauber, a student at the Peutinger Gymnasium, spoke about Erich, Max and Erwin Levi, the last Jewish students at the Ellwangen Gymnasium, who were forced out of school prematurely in 1935. “Your story shows that freedom and education are not to be taken for granted.”

In the Sebastiansgraben in front of house 27, Barabara Drasch and EWC schoolgirls remembered Rosa Heinrich, the widow of a Jewish cattle dealer, who also emigrated to the USA in 1938.

Three stones were laid in Apothekergasse, where Sigmund and Lea Levi lived with their son Erwin. When her life story was told, Ulrich Brauchle and Klaus Prohaska played klezmer music. Carol Blueweiss, a granddaughter, only found out about family history from Inge Barth-Grozinger’s book “Something Remains.” She took part in the laying of the stumbling block with a camera team. She said, “What you doing here, is bringing them home.”

In front of the house at Amtsgasse 6, Frank and Kathrin Keller talked about Hilda Muller, who became a victim of “Operation T4” in 1940. Schoolgirls quoted from a play, referring to the arbitrariness with which the Nazis sorted out people with flaws. The term “euthanasia” reached its most dreadful meaning in 1933: “termination of unworthy life.”

Peter Maile thanked the Frick families for sponsoring the laying of the stumbling block and looked to the future: “More and more forgotten victims of the Nazi dictatorship are coming to light in Ellwangen.” The stumbling block initiative will continue to research and is aiming for a third transfer in Ellwangen. “As a reminder and admonition, against violence and exclusion.”