Activities of the Schools
While Chriss Fiebig had trained official town guides in showing the Synagogue memorial and places of Jewish interest in the town itself, she again conducted quite a number of tours of the Jewish cemetery, particularly for schools, herself.
Two of the school tours stand out, because they are documented.
The tour for primary schools in the area made the press. The detailed report the was composed by members of the 8th form of the Volksschule Bamberg - Gaustadt. We read in the last paragraph
“Tief beeindruckt von den vielen erschütternden Begebenheiten verlassen wir den Judenfriedhof, der uns ein Mahnmal für die Zukunft sein wird.” (Deeply impressed by the many shattering events, we leave the Jewish cemetery. It will be a warning for us in the future.”)
(See FT 21 February, “Mahnmal für die Zukunft”).
The other tour, for the Fachakedemie für Sozialpädagogik (an untranslateable title, but a school training in practical, non-artisan skills), featured two pages on the visit in its annual report for 2001/ 2002. It gave the reason why Chriss took them to the cemetery, even if it was under the Motto “Living learning”. The report gave a sympathetic summary of Chriss’s tour and her talk on how Jews deal with death and burials.
Both reports surely provide more evidence, if that were needed, of the importance and effectiveness of Chriss’s work. (See also Visitors to Cemetery).
On 24 July, the school produced “Anatevka” again, known
in Britain and the USA as “Fiddler on the Roof”, to a full house.
The Reporter called the performance “impressive” and the timing “highly topical”. It was after all a pogrom which forced Tevye the milkman to emigrate to the USA. (See FT 25 July, “Beeindruc- kend und hochaktuell”).
The play was performed twice more.
The school had put on “Anatevka” al-ready some years ago, as part of a “Jewish Week” at the school.
It will be incomprehensible to presentday pupils and staff alike, that the school as the Oberrealschule, was once a hotbed of antisemitism, which Jewish children suffered in the 1920s and which resulted in their exclusion already before 1933. Herbert Ashe wrote a memoir of his experiences at the school in the 1920s, which I have deposited at the Bamberg City Archive.
E.T.H. Hoffmann Gymnasium
a post-War institution largely devoted to the Arts).
I have already mentioned the school’s Brass ensemble at the 8 May memorial meeting.In December the school invited Eleonore Herzberger nee Katz, a Jewish lady from Berlin, to talk about her dangerous life in and around Nazi Germany. Mrs. Herzberger, is a writer and former under- ground fighter, 85 years old.
The young people listened with fascination to an account of her adventurous life in the Nazi period. She fled to Amsterdam, then, with her husband, via Switzerland to France and Spain, where she worked for the British Underground in occupied Europe, and eventually to England itself.
Mrs. Herzberger met some of the pupils again, together with some from the Franz-Ludwig Gymnasium in a restaurant at Debring near Bamberg.She had published a book of her experiences entitled Durch die Maschen des Netzes (Slipped through the Net) in 1990. While in Germany, Mrs. Herzberger talked to 50 schools. (Information from Herrn Oberstudiendi- rektor Oppelt.)
To show the admirable character of the ETA Hoffmann Gymnasium, due to the devoted director Mr. Werner Oppelt MBE and his staff, I should mention that it was awarded this year’s prize “School International 2002”, presented by the Bavarian Ministry of Education and the Bavarian Youth Ring on 12 December for its admirable openess to other cultu- res and faiths, and to the many exchange visits with young people abroad. Considering how many schools there are in Bavaria, the prize was a real achievement! (See FT, 12 December, “E.T.A.- Hoffman-Gymnasium erhält Kulturfonds- Preis 2002”).
(formerly Neues Gymnasium
I have already mentioned a choir from the school in connection with the Week of Brotherhood, and the participation of some pupils at a meeting with Eleanor Herzberger.
The annual report of the school for 2001/2002 has an extensive report by the teacher Jens-Peter Kurzella about the exhibition in the city Archive on “Jüdische Schülerinnen and and Schüler in Bamberg 1938” (Jewish Pupils in Bamberg 1938) in November 2001, on which I reported in my last Letter. The report provides much additional information. Seven pupils from the Gymnasium participated in preparing the 48 panels, the Videocontributions etc. over the period of a year. The panels included information on Youth in the Third Reich, schools after 1933, Jews in the economic life of Bamberg, and, of course their fate in the Holocaust.
What I did not know is that the exhihibition is still being shown in schools in Bamberg, thus providing an educational multiplier of the work invested in the exhibition by the three schools which particpated.
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© by Thomas Starz