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Despite This Past: A Story of Friendship and Reconciliation

By Editor: Gail Lupton


This book was written to document the Stolperstein Project in Gelnhausen, which lies some 30 miles east of Frankfurt. Gelnhausen succeeded in driving out its entire Jewish community by November 1938 – and was proud of the fact

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978-3-924417536

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This book was written to document the Stolperstein Project in Gelnhausen, which lies some 30 miles east of Frankfurt. Gelnhausen succeeded in driving out its entire Jewish community by November 1938 – and was proud of the fact. In 2008 Rosemarie Bartel and David Lupton became co-chairs of the Stolperstein Project Group in Gelnhausen. The Stolperstein, literally stumbling stone, is the brainchild of the artist Gunter Demnig. It is a four inch square stone with a brass plate bearing the basic details: the name, year of birth, deportation details and date of death of a victim of Nazi terror, and is laid in front of his or her last voluntary residence. Demnig’s idea is that, by laying a stone, the victim’s name is restored to collective memory and thus becomes, once more, a human being. These three elements form the structure of the book and were also used as the title of the original German edition. “Despite This Past” examines some of the background of this dark age of German history.  Emphasis, however, is laid on the second part of the title “A Story of Friendship and Reconciliation”.  Here the book recounts meetings with descendants of the victims and the warm friendships which have sprung up. Our aim with the book is best summed up with a quotation from the foreword to the English Edition:

 

“What happened in Gelnhausen in the years 1933-1945 could and did happen elsewhere. Gelnhausen is a tragic example of the madness which engulfed Germany in the years of the Third Reich. We do not try to make excuses for the years of terror, nor do we point a finger at the perpetrators. They have had their moment of ‘glory’ and can now sink into well-deserved oblivion. Our aim was, is, and will continue to be, restoring human dignity to those who suffered.”

 

More about Stolpersteins Gelnhausen www.stolpersteins-gelnhausen.org

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