The following text is a translation of the article by Stephan Propach which was published on Aug. 2, 2019 in „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" and „The World News". Translation by Wolfgang Eilmes.
By Stephan Propach.
Ruppichteroth. An emotional scene was the highlight of the day. After 2 stumbling stones had been laid for their murdered grandparents the grandchildren Susan and Ron Gartner hugged artist Gunter Demnig and thanked him visibly touched. For the first time Demnig had laid stumbling stones in Rupichteroth. In front of 5 houses in the town 5 metal plates remind of former citizens who were deported and murdered in the time of National Socialism. 13 more stones will be laid next year.
„Ruppichteroth citizens have no problems dealing with the Jewish history of the town” said Wolfgang Eilmes in a conversation with this newspaper. Only for a long time nobody dealt with this topic. A commentary in this newspaper was the reason for Eilmes to start his research a few years ago.
Advance by school children
While Eilmes was starting his research school children of the local Sekundarschule Ruppichteroth Nümbrecht started their research of the history of the former Jewish families. The students dealt with information from local people who remembered their former Jewish neighbors. At the end they took over the sponsorship for the stones of the Isaak family as Beate Salz, didactic leader of the school said.
At Brölstraße the manager of the VR-bank Markus Neuber reminded of Julius Nathan who in the 1930s was one of the largest farmers in Ruppichteroth and a cattle trader. His house was where today the VR-Bank has its branch. Markus Neuber: „I am ashamed of the murderers of the Nazi regime and of what is again happening in parts of Germany, Europe, and the world.
Not less clearly spoke his father, honorary mayor Ludwig Neuber in front of the former house of the Gärtner family in Wilhelmstraße 17. He accused the attitude that many refugees in our country are considered asylum tourists and spoke out against barbed wire and internment camps. „Nobody leaves his home area voluntarily”, Ludwig Neuber said.
Wolfgang Eilmes who had organized the laying of the stones together with Gunter Demnig reminded of the fact that Ruppichteroth citizens had been part of bad events. For example in the so called pogrom night (Nov. 9, 1938) some neighbors had been standing in front of the Hess house yelling: „We will get you all. We will kill you all.”
Ron Gartner, whose father was able to flee with his sister to the USA in 1938 had come to Ruppichteroth with his sons Michael, Simon and Sam from Sweden, Susan Gartner had come from Los Angeles with her husband. Ron told the people that his father Herbert Gärtner had also taken good memories from Ruppichteroth.
Addressing the guests in his speech held in English mayor Mario Loskill assured: „We have understood” .