Letters from the Blaues Haus

Breisach, November 16, 2004

Dear Members and Friends,

I am happy to report to you about some exciting events that have taken place here in recent days. On Friday, October 22, the town of Breisach commemorated the 64th anniversary of the Baden deportation. A nice crowd of people attended the event, with representatives from the government, the press, the churches and Breisach’s present-day Jewish community. Another special attendee was Marlene Feldman, a descendant of the Breisach Kleefeld family, and her husband Heinz. The students that had worked to design the stone memorial as part of the Mahnmal Projekt led the ceremony. They presented each of the spectators with a placard, upon which the name of one of the 34 deported Breisach Jews was written. Once all the names were read, every person there, every bystander, stood in to represented one of the victims - quite a chilling feeling and a powerful message.

Another exciting project this week, which I am proud to have helped on during the planning stages, has just come to a conclusion: The week of Meeting and Remembrance at the Freiburg Lessing-Realschule. From 1936 until 1940, this school became an obligatory school for Jewish students in the area, who were not longer allowed to attend their schools in Breisach, Ihringen, Emmendingen and so on. For the past three years, students at the Lessing School, with the devoted help of their teacher Rosita Dienst-Demuth, have been researching this history of their school. The project culminated this week, when 15 former students of the obligatory Jewish school returned to Germany for the unveiling of a commemorative tablet at the Lessing School.

One of these former students, Ralph Eisemann, was from Breisach. He and his family, as many of you know, were the last residents of the Blue House before the war. On October 29, the group of survivors and current students came to the Blue House for a tour led by Ralph Eisemann himself. It was a very emotional day for the visitors, and for myself as well, because meeting Mr. Eisemann helped personalize the Blue House for me. In fact, meeting all the survivors this week has been fascinating, and hearing their stories has been an enriching experience I won’t soon forget.

And on November 10, we at the Blue House participated in a memorial event for “Reichspogromnacht,” also known as “Kristallnacht.” A group of Breisach citizens, including the new Breisach Jewish citizens, gathered at the Synagogue Platz, where the names of the 110 Jews killed by Nazi terror 1933-1945 were read aloud. We then retreated to the Blue House for a reading of an article by Leon de Winter, “Das Böse existiert” – the evil exists.


Sharyn Elise Jackson