Lecture on Jewish history in Geisa

Second laying of Stumbling Stones in Geisa

On November 9, 2023, many people gathered at the memorial stone of the former Jewish synagogue on the Schlossberg in Geisa. It was the date of the Reichspogromnacht 85 years ago, the violent measures organized by the National Socialist regime against Jews in the German Reich. The Jewish synagogue in Geisa was also vandalized at the time.

The town of Geisa and the “Geisaer Amt” local history and heritage association had invited people to the second Stumbling Stone laying ceremony on this day of remembrance. In memory of three Jewish families from the town who were persecuted, expelled and victims of the National Socialist regime, a memorial service was held at the site of the former Jewish synagogue in Geisa.

After moving speeches by the mayor Manuela Henkel and the chairman of the local history association, Johannes Henning, the Stolpersteine were laid with the help of pupils from Vacha grammar school.

The Geisa church choir provided the musical accompaniment.

This was followed by a reception in the ANNELIESE DESCHAUER Gallery. The event was accompanied by music from the Wartburg District Music School. The mayor welcomed the numerous visitors, including many descendants of Jewish families who had traveled from Germany and abroad.

Johannes Henning gave a lecture on Jewish history in the town of Geisa in the 19. and 20th century. A Jewish community existed in Geisa for many centuries, three denominations lived together peacefully and worked together for the good of the town. Unfortunately, most of Geisa’s Jewish fellow citizens were victims of the National Socialist reign of terror.

In the discussion that followed, Manfred Dittmar spoke as a contemporary witness about his memories and the stories of his parents. Numerous members of the Stern family were among the guests to attend the laying of the Stumbling Stones. Albert Stern’s grandson Yariv from Israel quoted from his grandfather’s letters, expressing his great longing for his old home town of Geisa and how he suffered because he was never able to visit Geisa again.

Berlin artist Dikla Stern, who presented her exhibition “The Stars of Geisa” at the ANNELIESE DESCHAUER Gallery two years ago, was also among the guests. At the time, she gave moving insights into the life story of her grandfather Albert Stern. Photos and correspondence from her great-great-grandparents in Geisa, documents and film footage of her grandfather’s escape to Israel, bore witness to Jewish culture in Geisa.

Next year, Dikla Stern will be showing her next exhibition in Thuringia entitled “Lililala-Land” at the Achava Festival of the Kunstverein in Eisenach from 15.08. – 15.08. until 22.09.2024.