Frank Felsenstein writes in The Times of Israel about his visit to Frankfurt.
Visiting Program 2017
In May a group of former citizens of Frankfurt and their descendants were invited to the city of Frankfurt, the former home of their parents or grandparents. The invitation of the city gave them the opportunity to see the sites of the grandparents`childhood and youth, visit their houses, the area they lived in, the graves of relatives and former schools. Reports and Pictures
See new biographies!
- Ethan Bensinger
- Yona and Tova Dreifuss
- Lilian Levy and Andrew Levy
- Andres Caro
- Ricardo Caro
- Recha and Leo Koref
- Shimon and Malka Bukspan with Aaron, Regina, Berti und Sonia
- Moshe, Toni, Ruth and Edith Bukspan
- Lee Edwards, née Carlebach
- The Mayers and the Marxes
On the History of the Project
Jewish Life in Frankfurt see the new article at About us
“That was the last time I saw mother”
Memories of the Kindertransport in Frankfurt February 20th to 22nd.
Renata Harris visits Frankfurt for the anniversary of the Kindertransporte.
From February 20. -22.2018 Renata Harris visited her former hometown Frankfurt, which she left on August 26th, 1939 at the age of 10 on one of the last Kindertransports.
She was invited by the Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt (PJLF), a group of volunteers who are dedicated to researching the lives of persecuted Jewish families from Frankfurt. A number of these families could save their children with the help of the Kindertransport. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first Kindertransport to England in 1938 the PJLF organized an evening with recitals of biographies and music.
The biographies of Benjamin Hirsch, Renata Harris (Adler) and Ken Ward (Karl Robert Würzburger) were read.
The pianist Angelika Nebel played the “Kol Nidre” by Siegfried Würzburger, the father of Ken Ward, in an especially moving rendition.
The interest in Renata Harris´ story could be seen by the fully packed auditorium at the Haus am Dom in the centre of Frankfurt City.
Two eye-witness accounts with Renata Harris took place at Schools in Frankfurt. One of them was at Renata Harris´ former School, the Philanthropin. The students in the schools were impressed by her strength of will and energy despite of the horrific loss of her mother.
The purpose of these events is to promote the idea of building a memorial for the children of the Kindertransport in vicinity of the Central Train Station.
Link to a Report on the website of the Philanthropin
Link to a Report by Elena Butz in the Frankfurter Neuen Presse (March 17th, 2018)
You can find more information about Renata Harris here
Frank Felsenstein, who participated 2017 in the visting program, writes in The Times of Israel about his visit to Frankfurt. Truncated memories: Berlin and Frankfurt in the afterlives of two Jewish refugee women
Obituary Monica Kingreen
Monica Kingreen, January 10th, 1952 – September 2nd, 2017
With deep sadness we announce the death of Monica Kingreen. For many years she researched local history in Hesse and with her work kept the memory of Jewish life in Hesse alive. Most visitors will have met her during the Visiting Program of the city of Frankfurt. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.
An extensive tribute of her commitment may be found on the page of the Fritz-Bauer-Institut, where Monica Kingreen worked for many years: Monica Kingreen
Visiting Program 2017
From 9th to 16th May 2017, former Frankfurt citizens and their descendants visited their former hometown at the invitation of the city of Frankfurt. They visited places they remembered or had heard about from their parents/grandparents and met people who live in Frankfurt today.
Their visits to the site of the synagogue at the Friedberger Anlage which was destroyed in 1938, the memorial for the deportations between 1941 and 1945 at the ECB, the memorial site at Börneplatz and the Exile-Archive of the DNB (German National Library) shows Frankfurt´s commitment to not let the past be forgotten.
The Westend Synagogue and the Philanthropin are signs of the vibrant Jewish community in Frankfurt of today. Many of the visitors visited school classes.
We would like to thank all involved for their participation in the school visits. The visitors and also the teachers and students enjoyed the experience.
Visiting Program 2017:
Final speeches in the Kaisersaal
- Andrew Levy: sound recording
Visiting Program 2017 – Press coverage:
- Höchster Kreisblatt: Der Besuch von Betty Wiesenberg in der Helene Lange Schule – The visit of Betty Wiesenberg at the Helene Lange school
- Frankfurter Rundschau: Jackie Gish berichtet in der Bettinaschule über ihre Eltern, die vor den Nazis fliehen mussten – Jackie Gish talks in the Bettinaschulel about her parents who had to flee from the Nazis
- Frankfurter Neue Presse: Nachkommen ehemaliger jüdischer Einwohner Frankfurts auf Spurensuche am Main – Descendants of former Jewish inhabitants of Frankfurt am Main searching for the past
- The Times of Israel: Truncated memories: Berlin and Frankfurt in the afterlives of two Jewish refugee women
Visiting Program 2017: Articles on school websites that had invited former inhabitants of Frankfurt or their descendants for talks:
Images of the visit 2017:
You can enlarge the following images by clicking on them.
Get-Together, in the German National Library. Dr. Silvia Asmus presents the Collection of the German Exile Archive. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
Welcome address by Angelika Rieber, the chairwoman of the Project Jewish Life in Frankfurt, who introduced the project and its website. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
Welcome address by Christoph Stillemunkes, undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Hesse. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
Welcome address by Marco Schepers from the State Education Authority in Frankfurt am Main. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
First encounters between the guests of the visiting program and students from Frankfurt schools. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
Making arrangements for the school talks with the guests of the visiting program. Photo: PJLF Karl Weisel.
Visitors searching for the name of their mothers on the memorial wall for former Jewish students at the Bettinaschule (former Viktoriaschule). Photo: Dieter Kaufmann.
(Translated by Gretel Ghamsharick)
Frankfurt Memorial for Kindertransport
The “Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt” dedicated a week from March 19th to 25th, 2017 to the memory of the children who left Frankfurt on the “Kindertransport” with a series of events.
At the beginning of the week the initiative for a memorial was launched at a luncheon meeting. The eye witnesses Lee Edwards, née Liesel Carlebach (93 years) and Oswald Stein (91 years) were present at this occasion.
Lee Edwards convinced all those present with the words: “ It would be nice to have a memorial in my hometown for the children of the Kindertransport … I personally would not be alive hat it not been for the Kindertransport … And I would ask you to hurry up, because I am 93 years old … “
At the unanimous request of the district council, the municipal authority of the city of Frankfurt had already expressly endorsed the initiative of the “Projekt Jüdisches Leben” for a memorial near the central station. Councillor Stefan Majer who represented the municipality confirmed the “clear, supportive signals” of the city at the luncheon and promised that the “City of Frankfurt with all participating departments” would be involved in the implementation.
Hartmut Schwarz, the manager of the Central Station, who is responsible for the reconstruction of the station square, also “reaffirmed the need to find a solution … with the city and the citizens of the city.”
The eye witnesses furthermore visited schools during this week and talked to students of the Heinrich-von-Gagern-Gymnasium and the Ernst-Reuter-Schule II as well as with students at a teacher´s trainer seminar in Frankfurt.
The “Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt” is planning a corresponding event for the Frankfurt Kindertransport Memorial on 1 December 2017. They hope that by the 80th anniversary of the first “Kindertransport” on 1 December 2018 the city plans will already be very advanced.
New biographies January – June 2017
The Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt was presented with the Obermayer Award
The Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt was presented with the Obermayer Award on January 23, 2017 at the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin, the home of the Berlin Parliament.
The Obermayer Awards recognize and encourage individuals and organizations who have raised awareness of a once-vibrant Jewish history and culture in their communities and have forged meaningful relationships with former residents and descendants of those who once lived in their towns. The award program was initiated in 2000 by Dr. Arthur S. Obermayer; the awards are co-sponsored by the Berlin Parliament and given in its elegant plenary chamber.
The Newsletter 2016 has been published.
New biographies July – December 2016
On June 4th, 2015 Ms. Gretel Merom was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Gretel Merom, née Baum, was born on February 9th 1913 in Frankfurt am Main. In 1934, as a dedicated Zionist she decided to leave National Socialist Germany and emigrate to the Palestinian Territories of that time. Her parents Julie and Norbert Baum were deported on October 19th, 1941 with the first transport from Frankfurt to Lodz / Litzmannstadt. Norbert Baum died there on February 22nd, 1942, his wife a few months later on May 4th, 1942.
In 1987 Gretel Merom visited Frankfurt as a participant of the visitors´ program of the city for former Frankfurt Jews, her brother Rudolf Baum, who emigrated to the USA in 1938, came in 1991. Gretel´s son, Micha Ramati, visited Frankfurt in 2012 searching for traces of his mother´s origins and visited her former school where he met some of her former classmates.
Ambassador Michaelis honored 102-year-old Gretel Merom as an extraordinary woman, who sees her life’s work in informing young Germans about the terrible events in Germany and thus bridge the gap between the terrible events of the Shoah and promote friendship between Israelis and Germans.
(Translated by Gretel Ghamsharick)
Walter Sommers receives the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
In recognition of his exceptional services in promoting peace and tolerance among peoples and cultures through Holocaust education an healing history, the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, has awarded Walter Sommers, a former Frankfurt citizen, who emigrated 1939 to the USA, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The medal was presented to Walter Sommers on August 6th, 2016 by Herbert Quelle, the German Consul General in Terre Haute, Indiana/USA, where Walter Sommers lives today.
In 1992 Walter Sommers visited his former hometown at the invitation of the City of Frankfurt. The Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt arranged a visit in his former school, where he spoke with the students about his life story and his family. Since that time, Walter Sommers has become involved as a witness for the history of the Holocaust in Terre Haute. Besides giving testimonials as a witness in schools and universities he also gives lectures in the Candles Museum in Terre Haute / Indiana founded by Eva Kor.
He portrays German-Jewish history and contemporary Germany in an appropriate and multi-faceted manner. By showing a realistic image of Germany away from only negative stereotypes he helps to improve US-German relations.
The Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt congratulates Walter Sommers and his children Nancy und Ron on this well-deserved and prestigious award.
Homepage of the German Missions in the United States with further reports, photos and the laudatory speech of Herbert Quelle, the German Consul General in Chicago.
(Translated by Gretel Ghamsharick)
Visiting Program 2016: Encounters with former Frankfurt residents and their children in May 2016:
End of May a group of former citizens of Frankfurt and their descendants were invited to the city of Frankfurt, the former home of their parents or grandparents. Since 1980, the city invites former citizens who were persecuted and driven away, because of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation during the time of Nationalsocialism.
The invitation of the city gives the visitors the opportunity to see the sites of the (great)grandparents`childhood and youth, visit the house, the area they lived in, the graves of relatives and former schools.
The Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt supported the visitors tracing the history of their families and offered help, did research, organizds contacts with archives or local initiatives and accompanied the visitors to the their parents´ or grandparents´ place of origin in the state of Hesse.
Raymon Grossmann’s final speech in the Kaisersaal, 2016:
|We are so diverse – Final speech in the Kaisersaal||PDF 260 kB|
|Encounters with former Frankfurt residents and their children in May 2016:||PDF 713 kB|
Ministerialrat Stillemunkes’ speech in the German National Library, May 2016
|Ministerialrat Stillemunkes' speech in the German National Library, May 2016||PDF 88 kB|
Press reports covering the Visiting Program 2016
Stolperstein für Ex-Eintracht-Spieler
Report in the ‘Frankfurter Rundschau’ May 20th, 2016 covering the Stumblestone Ceremony for Max Girgulski, whose daughter participated at the visiting program
Auf den Spuren der NS-Opfer
Report in the ‘Frankfurter Rundschau’ May 24th, 2016 covering the visit of Mark and Steven Novins at the I.E. Lichtigfeld-Schule
Ein Teller brach und das Schweigen auch
Report in the F.A.Z. June 2nd, 2016 covering the visit of Andreas Rothstein at the Schiller-Schule
Report in the ‘Jüdischen Allgemeine’ June 9th, 2016 covering the visit of Mark and Steven Novins at the I.E. Lichtigfeld-Schule
Report in the ‘Jüdischen Allgemeine’ May 20th, 2016 covering the participation of the guests of the visiting program at the Reception on the occasion of the ‘German-Israeli Friendship Day’ in the Philanthropin
- F.A.Z. May 19th, 2016, p. 36: Aus Israel, Kolumbien und Uruguay
Report covering Welcome Reception of the Visitors by the City of Frankfurt am Main
in the Palmengarten
- FR June 7th, 2016, p. R8-R9: Arisierung nach Drehbuch. 1937 wurde die Flesch-Werke AG, ein Frankfurter Chemieunternehmen in jüdischem Besitz, „arisiert“. Nachfahrin Patrice Flesch folgt den Spuren ihrer Familie und eines nie gesühnten Verbrechens.
Report on the visit of Patrice Flesh und Armin H. Flesch at the Wöhler-Schule:
|FR Arisierung nach Drehbuch 7.6.2016||PDF 1,5 MB|
Visiting Program 2016: Reports on websites of schools covering the talks of participants given at schools
Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt e.V. – der Besuch von Raymon Grossman aus Chicago
Raymon Grossman at the Bettinaschule
Zeitzeugen zu Besuch an der Helene-Lange-Schule
Ruthie und David Sakheim at the Helene-Lange-Schule
Besuch aus Kalifornien – Nachkommen von Opfern des Holocaust an unserer Schule
Mark und Steven Novins at the I.E. Lichtigfeld-Schule
You can enlarge the following pictures by clicking on them
Dr. Sylvia Asmus, Head of the German Exile Archive of the German National Library, greets the guests (PJLF. Foto Karl Weisel).
Ministerialrat Stillemunkes, Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Hessen, greets the guests (PJLF. Foto Karl Weisel). (Speech)
Margaret West prepares with a teacher her encounter with students at the Friedrich-Dessauer-Gymnasium (PJLF. Foto: Karl Weisel).
Andreas Rothstein in the archive of the Schillerschule, where his grandfather was teacher; his mother was student there (PJLF. Foto A. Rieber).
Gayle Wald at the cemetery in Heddernheim looking for her great-grandmother's grave (PJLF. Foto A. Rieber).
New biographies January – June 2016
Visiting Program 2015: Encounters with former Frankfurt residents and their children in June 2015:
Rolf Stuerm’s final speech in the Kaisersaal, 2015:
|Rolf Stuerm's final speech in the Kaisersaal, 2015||PDF 55 kB|
Visiting Program 2015: Reports in the ‘Frankfurter Rundschau’, in the ‘Frankfurter Neue Presse’ an in the ‘Höchster Kreisblatt’:
Visiting Program 2015: Links to reports on websites of schools:
At the moment, we are in the process of building up and improving this homepage.
School classes startet to work with this website. Their positive feedbacks are encouraging. Many colleagues visited our website in the meantime and gave us constructive suggestions and ideas.
We also take big efforts to complete the english version of this homepage.
Of course, your suggestions how to improve this presentation of our activities is very welcome!
|Newsletter 2014 Projekt Jüdisches Leben in Frankfurt||PDF 599 kB|