Posts tagged ‘Heidelberg’
I’m always happy to be back in the German university town of Heidelberg, a place where I lived and worked as a research astronomer for 2 years.
Arriving in Heidelberg thanks to my German Rail Pass, how was I to know the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas markets had opened just the day before!
Once again, as in times I’ve been here before, I’m happily immersed under bright coloured lights; a mulled wine in hand, standing next to the giant Christmas tree at Marktplatz; swimming in the sea of smiling residents and visitors, young and old; munching on grilled steak, Bratwurst, and Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) with apple or garlic sauce; nibbling on Marzipan, Stollen, and Spekulatius; and washing all of it down with more mulled wine …
The photos show scenes at a number of markets along the Hauptstrasse (main street). From west to east, Heidelberg’s markets along the Hauptstrasse are at:
- Bismarckplatz (Bismarck Square, B)
- Anatomiegarten (Anatomy Garden, A)
- Universitätsplatz (University Square, U)
- Marktplatz (Market Square, M)
- Kornmarkt (Grain Market, K)
- Karlsplatz (Charles Square, C).
I made the photos above on 22 and 23 November 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
It happens every time without fail.
My spirit breaks a little more every time I see a memorial, another example of the depths to which our species have plumbed.
Does feeling this way make me weak? Or am I resembling a human being after all?
On 9-10 November 1938, Kristallnacht (“the night of broken glass”) was a well-organized “pogrom”, a series of violent attacks by Nazis against Jews and their property in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslavakia’s Sudetenland. The word “Kristallnacht” is literally “the night of crystal”, referring to broken glass as windows to synagogues, homes, and stores owned by Jews were shattered.
The numbers were appalling: at least 90 dead, 30000 arrested and detained in camps, over 200 synagogues burned, and over 7000 Jewish businesses damaged or destroyed. The outbreak of coordinated actions against Jews marked the beginning of state-sanctioned violence. With Kristallnacht, the state opened the door to undisguised escalation of savagery: a turning point leading to the Holocaust.
Heidelberg’s Old Synagogue
In the university town of Heidelberg, the earliest recorded presence of Jews dates back to the 13th-century. Jews gathered in what is now the Old Town and converted the building they were using into a synagogue in the early 18th-century; the community built a new synagogue at the same site in the late 19th-century.
The synagogue did not escape violence on Kristallnacht and was burned to the ground. Alter Synagogenplatz (Old Synagogue Square) is all that remains today with memorial plaques; the names of people arrested, deported, and killed; the outline of the synagogue’s walls in white marble; the entrance and windows marked in grey granite; and twelve sandstone cubes representing pews and the twelve tribes of Israel.
A memorial at the square is dedicated to the Jewish community who once thrived in Heidelberg’s Old Town. Information at the “Site of the Heidelberg synagogue, 1714-1938″ provided by the City of Heidelberg reads:
Jews have lived in Heidelberg since the 13th century, in spite of having been subject to oppression and persecution time and again. In 1714, the “Blue Lily” house situated on this site was converted to a synagogue. In 1878, the community built a new synagogue in contemporary style.
On the night of 9-10 November 1938, Nazi storm troopers set fire to the synagogue. In 1939, the Jewish community was ordered to pay for the demolition of its ruined synagogue.
On 22 October 1940, the Jews of Baden and the Palatinate were deported to Gurs camp in Southern France. Only few of them survived the Shoah. Between 1941 and 1945, more Jews from the area were deported straight to the death camps.
After the end of the war in April 1945, a Jewish community was re-established in Heidelberg. The present-day synagogue is situated in the Weststadt city district, at 10-12 Häusserstrasse. It was inaugruated in 1994.
During the renovation of this square in 2001, white marble cobbles were used to mark the outline of the synagogue. The memorial stone marks the location of the Ark.
A new Jewish community centre and synagogue were inaugurated in Heidelberg’s Weststadt in 1994. There are now brass “Stolpersteine” or “stumbling stones” with names acknowledging Jews who once lived in Heidelberg.
I made the photos above on 26 November 2006 with a Canon Powershot A510. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
A number of German historians set up the website, 9nov38.de, to highlight events before, during, and after the pogroms of 9-10 November 1938; the website is in German.
Thanks to Enchanted Seashells for their post.
2013 marked the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and BBC News posed the question of whether anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe. Holocaust survivor Margot Friedlander recently returned to her hometown of Berlin, where she has her own “Stolperstein”; she spoke to NPR about remembering Kristallnacht.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to visit the city of Heidelberg, Germany, split in two by the Neckar river. Daytime temperatures are still comfortable, even if there’s a slight chill beginning to set in at night. The changing colours of the deciduous trees on both hills — Heiligenberg on the north side and Königstuhl on the south — complement the red-roofed houses and buildings in town, providing extra ‘warmth’ to the captivating location.
Heidelberg can be reached by S-Bahn RheinNeckar in about 15 to 20 minutes, east from Mannheim on the Rhein, and can also be reached in about 50 to 90 minutes, respectively, with Deutsche Bahn’s InterCity or regional trains, south from Frankfurt am Main.
Between 2001 and 2003, I called this town my ‘home’. In many ways, I still do.
I made the two photos above on 29 November 2008. This post is originally published on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).
Heidelberg, Germany – 9pm CET, 20 December 2010.
Many would claim (and agree!) that the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg can be very busy, and at many times overrun by tourists. We used to complain that there were just too many tourists on shopping Saturday – that I would be one of those very same tourists after leaving the city in 2003 would become amusing, if not a little appalling.
Another wast-east street is Plöck which runs not only parallel to the Hauptstrasse, but runs almost as long. This is like an open secret among knowing residents and University students, for all who traverse the width of the Altstadt along the much narrower Plöck will find very interesting shops. Behind the Kaufhof department store at Bismarckplatz, I made the following photo at the western end of Plöck (at Sofienstraße).
I had spent a couple of hours on this evening wandering through the city I had once lived between 2001 and 2003. Memories continued to surface as I walked along the Hauptstrasse; near the eastern end is Kornmarkt. Kornmarkt (“Grain Market”) was used as a central point to exchange a variety of agricultural goods. Today, Kornmarkt marks the start of the pedestrian path up to the Heidelberg Castle, and is also the end- or city-terminus of the Bergbahn (Mountain Railway). At the centre of the square stands the Mary statue which was built in 1718 by the Jesuits to try and convince the citizens at the time to convert to Catholicism.
I made the photos above in Heidelberg on 20 December 2010. This post is published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).
Heidelberg, Germany – 8pm CET, 20 December 2010.
After a delicious Thai dinner with friends, I spent a couple of hours wandering through the city I had once lived between 2001 and 2003. Memories quickly resurfaced, starting at the western end of the Hauptstrasse at Bismarckplatz. People were leaving shops with their shopping, and some of them were heading briskly to the Christmas markets for one last swig of Glühwein (mulled wine) before closing time at 9pm.
This post is published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).