Stolperstein Verlegung in Koblenz: May 8, 2018

My heart-felt thanks to all of you who have come to witness the laying of Stolpersteine for my three aunts. 

Perhaps the year was 1937. I would have been five years old when I walked through the front door of the grand house that stood here at Markenbildchenweg 30. I had come to visit my aunts. 

My mother was the eldest of four sisters, daughters of the Schneider family, Weinhändler, originally from Heddisheim, now Guldenthal, near Bad Kreuznach. 

By 1937 my mother had settled in the Eifel region, but her sisters made their home here on this street in Koblenz. 

I only have faint memories of my three aunts, their appearance or personalities. Aunt Johanna was a business woman, strong and efficient. Aunt Dorothea, or Dora, cared for the house. I see her wearing an apron— kindly, quiet and timid. The youngest aunt, Elisabeth, I remember having curly black hair and laughing eyes. I have no photographs. They were single, all three, and I was the only child in the family—loved intensely. 

For many years, it was too painful for me to even ask the question, “What happened to my aunts, Johanna, Dora and Elisabeth?” 

It was only after I experienced the healing of my wounded history that I received the courage to search out their story. The facts are few. On May 22, 1942, they left Koblenz from the Güterbahnhof Lützei on the first transport carrying around 300 Koblenz Jews to the east. 

The three of them were among the 11-15,000 Jews who were ultimately brought to Izbica, a small shetl in Poland.

My aunts died in the summer of 1942. Did they die by gassing in the nearby camps, Belzec or Sobibor? Or from typhoid, shooting or starvation in Izbica? 

About a year ago, George and I were in Koblenz. We walked with a large group of local citizens, following the route these first deportees took, under guard, on their way to the Güterbahnhof Lutzei.

In the evening darkness we stood together at the station, holding lighted candles and yellow stars. We listened as all the names, ages and addresses were read by students. 

And now, today, we are together here, honoring Johanna, Dora and Elisabeth, remembering them with Stolpersteine. 

I am deeply thankful to Gunter Demnig, who has already laid so many Stolpersteine throughout Europe. And from Koblenz, especially Wolfgang Hüllstrung and his team, and all of you gathered here as witnesses. Some of you have travelled hundreds of kilometers to be here. 

I would like to close with the Aaronic blessing. The role God intended for Jews was to bless all peoples. I pray this prayer today, asking God’s blessing on all of us gathered here, and on the city of Koblenz:

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you
And give you peace. 

Face to face On Dreibornerstrasse

Face to face
On Dreibornerstrasse in 2013,
Stolpersteine have just been planted,
In the pavement.
Similar in age, she fondly remembers
The old school, while I remember
The day in 1938 when
Our little group of Jewish children
Were encircled by hate.
Forgive?

Tomorrow A Garland for Ashes
Can be downloaded as a free ebook
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For 5 days, 26 – 30 January.
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The Sisters Were There to Pray

Sometimes…
Do you tire of FB, twitter, IG?
Question the reality of it all?
And then, suddenly
Your jaw drops as
You look at your feed & see
A group of nuns, clustered by a
Memorial wall in a Polish forest
Next to the remains of an incinerator
Where the ashes of
Amalie & Markus Zack
Mingled with those of all
The other Jews In May 1942.
The sisters were there to pray.
Amalie and Markus were my parents.


Photo: Ursuline sisters of Klasztor-Sieradz, Poland

Chapter 7: Inner Healing

Maturing Toward Wholeness in the Inner Life
CHAPTER 7
Inner Healing:
Healing the Pain that is Blocking my Maturing

At some point, living as Christ’s disciple, I am likely to become aware of wounded areas within that are hindering or blocking my maturing. Craziness began when I turned from God and went my own way. Sanity is gradually returning as I rely on Jesus to teach me how life works.

(George Miley) Recorded 12/28/2016

Restored by Love

‘Restored by Love’ was the theme of the Paradise in the City Festival organized by the Chemin Neuf Community in July 2016. The Festival hosted over 5000 young people from all over the world in Łódź, Poland, for World Youth Day. Thirty young people from different countries prepared the Festival throughout the year. These young people shared their path of transformation in Christ. Festival speakers (among them Cardinal Luis Antonio Taagle, Bishop Grzegorz Rys, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby) also shared why it is important to allow yourself to be restored by love and how to live after this experience.

One of the striking stories is that of Hanna Miley, Jewish by birth, whose past was closely linked to the city of Łódź during the Second World War. Her testimony shows how God’s mercy can heal and save our lives.

Small Group Sharing

We suggest that you keep a moment of silence after the film to remember the areas of your lives that have been healed. Then you are invited to share the following questions in small groups:

– What touched me or spoke to me in this film? What would I like to keep hold of?

– Have I already been healed by God’s love in my personal story? Do I sense the need for healing in an aspect of my life today?

– Where does healing in my life seem to be impossible from a human viewpoint?

Intercession

Lord, we pray for all people who need healing in their lives. Help them to open their hearts, heal their lives and approach your love, so they can receive mercy.

We pray that all young people may discover how to live with you in their daily lives. Fill them lives with your presence.

Lord, give us a merciful heart for others and help us to embody the Beatitudes in our lives.

From the Word

My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only son into the world that we might have love through him. Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins. My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love each other. No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us.

1 John 4:7, 9-11

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