Shocked, I looked closer, 

Yes, they are Stolpersteine, brass bricks, 

embedded in the pavement before former homes of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. 

Yes, they are desecrated with an old trope,

 Juden sind Täter (Jews are Perpetrators).

Yes, this is June 2024.

Yes, the photograph was taken in Weimar, Germany. 

Yes that Weimar, city of culture, 

home to famous writers, Goethe and Schiller, 

the Bauhaus Museum, featuring the work of the architect Gropius. 

The place where Germany’s first constitution was signed after World War 1.

Platz der Demokratie. Carl-Augustus Denkmal, Weimar, 2017

The city that gave its name to the Weimar Republic,  introducing democracy to Germany in 1918, lasting until March 23, 1933 when the Nazis came to power and established a dictatorship.

I time travel back to our beginnings as a nation,

we are crowded at the river’s edge with all we own. 

I hear chariot wheels, galloping horses, Pharaoh’s army, drawing nearer and nearer.

Deliver us from evil.

The Egyptian Chariots are coming | Source: Wikipedia

Tower, York, England | Source:

On March 16th, 1190 I am trapped inside the tower of York  together with my entire community, surrounded by an angry mob. No one survives The Massacre at Clifford’s Tower.

Deliver us from evil.

Jewish Interpretation Center, Seville | Source:

It is 1477 and we try to live quietly, hiding among our neighbors, in Seville. On 6 February 1481 six Jews are burned alive. The Inquisition begins.

Deliver us from evil.

Map of Strasburg, from 1887 to 1920 | Source: Richard Andree

My father, Markus Zack, was born on 24 September 1878, in Strasburg/Brodnica, then a part of Prussia.

Why did he leave his home, his family and travel 

as  far west as he could and still live in the Prussian Empire? 

Between 1886 and  1910 Strasburg/Brodnica receives railway connections.

At the end of World War 1, in 1918, Strasburg/Brodnica becomes part of Poland and attacks on the Jewish community increase, that contagious disease spilling over from violent riots, pogroms in the Russian Empire.

And my father joins the exodus to Germany.

Markus Zack settles in the Eifel, Germany, close to the Belgian border, marries Amalie Schneider and enjoys life as a member of the small Jewish community  an established businessman.

Gemünd, a Luftkurort (A Respiratory Health Resort) | Postcard from 1930’s

By the time I was born in 1932, he is a respected, local citizen.

Six years later our peaceful life is shattered.

On  Kristallnacht, November, 9-10, 1938 our synagogue is burned, Jewish shops are vandalized, we are driven out of Gemünd, our little home town.

A month before World War 2 begins I escape to England, via the Kindertransport but my parents…

they have Stolpersteine laid in the pavement before our former home…

Deliver us from evil.

Stolpersteine in Gemünd for my parents 2017