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Memory Event on Deportations from Kassel

About 140 guests attended a memory event held at the Volkmarsen “Nordhessen” hall on 9 September 2012 to mark the 70th anniversary of the third deportation of Jews from the Kassel district. “There are no words to express the suffering the people went through, but we can pay our respect to the victims“, stated Ernst Klein from the association “Flashback – Against Oblivion” which had organised and hosted the event in cooperation with numerous partners from the region.

On 7 September 1942 753 Jews were deported with the third transport, referred to as transport XV/1, from Kassel to Theresienstadt. The deportees were mainly elderly people and came from 59 various places in the North of Hessen. Some 145 died at Theresienstadt, most of the others perished in extermination camps, and it was merely 63 who survived. “We have to accept our past and must continue studying it, dealing with it and confronting it”, accentuated Walter Lübcke, Chief Administrator of the region, in his address to the audience. “It is of vital importance for all of us to keep on respecting individual rights, to keep on respecting one another and to keep on passing this heritage on to the generations to come.”

In his talk, District Head Reinhard Kubat addressed the question why former neighbours and friends did turn their faces from the injustice. “Their passivity and complicity no doubt the reason for denying their share in the responsibility for what happened for decades.” In his view, the event and the work done by the association “Against Oblivion” importantly contribute not only to our coming to terms with the past, but also to our deriving lessons from it for the future.

Radio editor Thomas Korte read from a text that conveyed to his listeners an authentic image of the living conditions at the Theresienstadt Ghetto. He recited passages from the moving memoir of Otto Bernstein who had been living at Volkmarsen for some time and was deported when he was over 70. His conclusion had been: “We are buried here alive”. Ernst Klein took advantage of the event to present to the audience his new book just published and titled “Verschwundene Nachbarn – Verdrängte Geschichte” (Displaced Neighbours – Dislocated Memory), a documentation on Jewish-German regional history in North Hessian Waldeck.

Ernst Klein
“Verschwundene Nachbarn – Verdrängte Geschichte”
Publisher: The Volkmarsen Working Group Flash Back Against Forgetting
302 pages
IBSN: 978-3-924259-11-2
€ 17.50