“My mother used to talk about a small sleepy town. My grandfather’s family lived in this townand here he had success. Then it became reality: everything was taken away and they lost everything.”
– Karen Sachs Knauf, daughter of Hilde Sachs, born 1910 in Themar and granddaughter of Moritz Sachs
As in all other German towns and villages, Jewish life in Themar ended abruptly in the catastrophe of the Holocaust. After the war, Themar disappeared behind the inner-German border and with it the memory of the Themar Jews disappeared for more than half a century.
But in 2011 a meeting that could be called ‘historic’ took place. The town of Themar invited the descendants of Jewish families to come to the home of their parents and grandparents.” And they came … resuming the thread of connection with their own history they considered ‘worth’ taking the risk.”
On the first night of the reunion, Mayor Böse addressed the visitors by saying, “The Jewish families have done this town good. For a very long time they have shaped the social, economic and cultural life of Themar. The fact that their traces are still recognizable today testifies to how, deeply they were rooted here.They were deprived of their roots and their homeland, but no one could extinguish their love for their homeland and thus their attachment to it.”
These days were documented in a film.
The German version of the film – Die Liebe zur Heimat konnte niemand auslöschen – (sponsored by the Thuringian Ministry of Social Affairs, Family and Health) premiered on May 9, 2013 in the auditorium of the ‘Anne Frank School’ in Themar. The next day, a journalist wrote: “In strong emotional original tones, the documentary showed how all the suffering of the Holocaust came to light again at that time. For the locals, however, the film, sponsored by the state of Thuringia, represents an important milestone in coming to terms with a sad chapter in their town’s history.”
The film can be viewed here. Film length: 34 min.
“Reminder to those born after,” Germany Today, May 14, 2013.
“Commemoration of the former Jewish community in Themar,” Germany Today, April 29, 2013.
“It was my grandma’s neighbors,” Germany Today, 29 September 2012.