"Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana
November 9th - just a few days ago - is one of the most significant dates in recent German history.
Thirty (30) years ago on November 9, 1989 the border between East and West Germany was opened for the first time, thus ending the Cold War and giving freedom to everyone who lived behind the "Iron Curtain".
People celebrated by starting to destroy the Berlin Wall immediately on November 9th. This act of destruction was an echo of the destructive event 50 years prior which was a tragic turning point of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in WWII.
Eighty (81) years ago on November 9, 1938 a pogrom was carried out against the Jews throughout Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia in which the windows and glass of their homes, businesses and synagogues were shattered. It is known as "Kristallnacht" or in English: the "Night of Broken Glass". About 100 hundred people were killed and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.(*1)
Kristallnacht was a turning point in the persecution of the Jews because it was the first time in which Jews were arrested and deported just because of their ethnicity.
The quote on this sign:
"Whoever closes their eyes to the past is blind in the present" - Richard von Weizsäcker, former German president.
This little memorial with the Jewish star is not directly related to Kristallnacht, nonetheless it is a reminder to everyone of what happened in October 1940 when German authorities deported around 6,500 Jews from all the towns and villages in the Baden region of southwest Germany and sent them across the border into the unoccupied zone of France.
The Vichy government interned most of them in Gurs which is located in the Pyrennes mountains near the Spanish border.
One in four of the deportees died in Gurs or other French camps, 11 percent succeeded in emigrating overseas, 12 percent hid out in France, and 40 percent (around 2,600 deportees) were transported to Auschwitz after July 1942. The fate of the remaining 600 deportees is unknown. (*2)
The star memorial was created and installed by the children in the Confirmation Class of 2015 as part of an ecumenical project of the evangelical and catholic churchs of this village.