Start (Englisch)

Information 1

In Stutt­gart, such as ever­y­whe­re in Ger­ma­ny, more than 2,500 peo­p­le of Jewish des­cent and over 240 Sin­ti and Roma were forced to gather at Kil­les­berg, had to march to the pre­mi­ses of the inner North Sta­ti­on and were then depor­ted to camps in Riga, Izbica, Ausch­witz and The­re­si­en­stadt. Only few survived.

Stutt­gart was one of the start­ing points of the crime of the Shoa, which even­tual­ly ter­mi­na­ted in the hell of the con­cen­tra­ti­on camps.

Also in Stutt­gart, this dark past has been sup­pres­sed to a gre­at ext­ent for about 60 years and only came to the public’s noti­ce, when staff mem­bers of the Info­la­den and Stif­tung Geis­stra­ße beca­me awa­re of the topic in the late 1990’s. They were then plan­ning on saving remem­brance of the hor­rid acti­vi­ties from obliviscence.

Within the pre­mi­ses of the inner North Sta­ti­on (today cal­led Otto-Umfrid-Stra­ße) – the very place from which the peo­p­le were forced upon the trains – the ori­gi­nal tracks, the rails, the slee­pers and the buf­fer stops were still int­act. Given the place’s his­to­ric signi­fi­can­ce and importance, peo­p­le even­tual­ly cal­led for the loca­ti­on to be actively pre­ser­ved and used as a memo­ri­al to com­me­mo­ra­te the cruel events hap­pe­ning in the past. This aimed at pre­ven­ting a slow, yet ste­ady era­di­ca­ti­on of all traces with time. As loca­ti­ons are also capa­ble of tel­ling sto­ries, this place has been crea­ted as a SIGN OF COMMEMORATION, in remem­brance of the vic­tims from the past. The redu­ced and subt­le archi­tec­tu­re was crea­ted by Anne Chris­tin and Ole Saß and respects the par­ti­cu­lar spi­rit of the loca­ti­on, which con­tri­bu­tes to the noti­on of remembrance.

Iden­ti­fy­ing the vic­tims and sha­ring their names is the main con­cern of both the memo­ri­al and the asso­cia­ti­on main­tai­ning it. This is a con­ti­nuing mat­ter, as con­tem­po­ra­ry Holo­caust rese­arch con­stant­ly iden­ti­fies new vic­tims who­se names have been over­loo­ked, so far. Thus, two years after the memo­ri­al was crea­ted, 271 fur­ther names have been added to the wall – names of Wuerttemberg’s depor­ted Sin­ti and Roma. Cur­rent stu­dies lead to fur­ther 435 names of Jewish vic­tims from various depor­ta­ti­ons. They have been added to the wall in bet­ween the exis­ting lines in ear­ly sum­mer 2022.

The asso­cia­ti­on SING OF COMMEMORATION regards remem­brance as a public duty given by socie­ty as a who­le, the city of Stutt­gart, the regi­on and the coun­try. The events that hap­pen­ed in the past, were con­duc­ted in the name of the respec­ti­ve socie­ty, open, among the public sphe­re. It is a cru­cial part of our his­to­ri­cal heri­ta­ge. The memo­ri­al site is a vigo­rous admo­ni­ti­on for socie­ty to con­stant­ly reflect their his­to­ri­cal obli­ga­ti­on and respon­si­bi­li­ty and a remin­der to actively con­tri­bu­te to pre­ven­ting such events in the pre­sent and the future. It is a sign of hope for a world wit­hout vio­lence, no anti­se­mi­tism, no racism, no xeno­pho­bia and no vio­la­ti­on of human rights. May the memo­ri­al site within the inner North Sta­ti­on func­tion as a place of war­ning and commemoration.

Crea­ting the memo­ri­al site was only pos­si­ble with broad pri­va­te and public fun­ding. Inde­ed, we con­ti­nue to need and wel­co­me any form of sup­port, be it con­cep­tu­al or finan­cial. We thank you in advan­ce for any dona­ti­on made to BW Bank (IBAN DE82 6005 0101 0002 6058 43). On the association’s home­page you will find fur­ther and exten­si­ve infor­ma­ti­on on the events in the 3rd Reich, the names of the vic­tims and tho­se of many per­pe­tra­tors, pho­tos, sources, cur­rent acti­vi­ties and much more.

trans­la­ted by Mathi­as Gei­ger, Stuttgart

Information 2

Depor­ta­ti­ons from Stuttgart

Pre­vious to the depor­ta­ti­ons, the vic­tims were segre­ga­ted in so-cal­led “Jewish apart­ments” and obli­ga­to­ry reti­re­ment homes. The­re was an eco­no­mic aspect to it: Stutt­gart was short of housing. The peo­p­le in power were working hand in hand: The fac­to­ry com­plex Hein­kel-Hirth-Wer­ke capa­ci­ta­ted rural pre­mi­ses in exch­an­ge for 60 flats for their workers, the city of Stutt­gart actively hel­ped by “pro­vi­ding” respec­ti­ve housing.

At the same time, pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for the depor­ta­ti­ons began. Stutt­gart was one of 16 places from which depor­ta­ti­on trains star­ted. Mid Novem­ber 1941, the Gesta­po main office infor­med the Jewish repre­sen­ta­ti­on about a depor­ta­ti­on which was sche­du­led on Decem­ber, 1st, 1941. This was dis­gu­i­sed as a mere geo­gra­phi­cal relo­ca­ti­on and orde­red the Jewish repre­sen­ta­ti­on to sel­ect 1000 peo­p­le – a devious attempt to make them accom­pli­ces. Within a few days, the peo­p­le sel­ec­ted had to prepa­re their belon­gings order­ly, only for it to be com­for­ta­b­ly coll­ec­ted by the ones who rob­bed it. (Adler). In the mean­ti­me, the pre­mi­ses of the Reich’s hor­ti­cul­tu­ral show of 1939 have been con­ver­ted into a coll­ec­tion camp, situa­ted at Killesberg.

On the mor­ning of 1st Decem­ber 1941, the train left the inner North Sta­ti­on for Riga. After three days and nights, the depor­ted rea­ched an impro­vi­sed camp on the grounds of Gut Jung­fern­hof, whe­re one per­son died after the other quick­ly. On 26th March 1942, SS- and poli­ce tro­ops shot over 1,600 peo­p­le in Bikernie­ki forest, many among them were tho­se ori­gi­nal­ly abduc­ted from Stutt­gart. In total, 42 peo­p­le sur­vi­ved the cruel­ties and mur­de­rous actions.

The second depor­ta­ti­on to the tran­sit ghet­to Izbica in the dis­trict Lub­lin on 26th April 1942 affec­ted 273 peo­p­le from Wuert­tem­berg-Hohen­zol­lern, as well as 260 peo­p­le from Baden, Pala­ti­na­te and Luxem­bourg. No one survived.

The third gre­at depor­ta­ti­on from the North Sta­ti­on took place on 22nd August 1942. The vic­tims had to pay for the train ride, as well as an “ent­rance fee” and a “board fee” cal­cu­la­ted for five years in advan­ce. The desti­na­ti­on were the for­mer Habs­burg bar­racks in The­re­si­en­stadt. Half of the depor­ted died within the first two months of their arri­val, the ones who initi­al­ly sur­vi­ved the hard­ships could be sent to a death camp any time.

Public aut­ho­ri­ties, NS-orga­ni­sa­ti­ons and neigh­bours argued about the depor­tees’ pos­ses­si­ons left, part­ly during public com­pul­so­ry auc­tions. The city of Stutt­gart, in exam­p­le, suc­cessful­ly clai­med Jewish reti­re­ment homes.

Along with five depor­ta­ti­ons in 1943 Janu­ary 1944, more than 120 peo­p­le have been depor­ted, many among them were sin­gle indi­vi­du­als. Next, the remai­ning part­ners of so-cal­led “mixed-mar­ria­ges “came into the focus, as soon as they lost their pro­tec­tion after their Ari­an spou­se divorced them or died. Even while facing the down­fall of the 3rd Reich in Janu­ary 1945, the regime dis­pla­ced 58 peo­p­le to The­re­si­en­stadt and did not show any con­side­ra­ti­on for their pri­vi­le­ged “mixed mar­ria­ges” sta­tus. In Stutt­gart, only two dozen Jews sur­vi­ved, part­ly in hiding, along with some Jewish part­ners in “mixed marriages”.

The fol­lo­wing sum­mer, only few sur­vi­vors came back. Many fol­lo­wed rela­ti­ves and fri­ends into emi­gra­ti­on. The new Jewish muni­ci­pal was later for­med by sur­vi­vors from Eas­tern Euro­pe pri­ma­ri­ly. The first repre­sen­tors howe­ver, were peo­p­le who resi­ded in Stutt­gart ori­gi­nal­ly, such as Ben­no Oster­tag und Alfred Marx, who both sur­vi­ved thanks to the loyal­ty of their wives and Josef War­scher, who came back from Buchen­wald. After the Shoa, they were bra­ve enough to restart their lives as Jewish Germans.

ori­gi­nal text Roland Mül­ler
trans­la­ted by Mathi­as Gei­ger, Stuttgart