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Gratitude for all the memory work is embedded in their hearts

The Weil Family on the traces of their Jewish ancestors in Steinsfurt

Personal words of thank-you sent by email or onto Smartphones or the many positive reports and photos published in the social media – the family reunion of the descendants of Dr Hermann Weil (1868-1927) (our remark: all related to him but not his direct descendants) had left a lasting impression on the 23 guests that had come from all over the world. The hosts were most impressed, too: “That has been a wonderful experience. We could experience the highest praise and gratitude by the Weil descendants for  our efforts of making the Jewish life in the Kraichgau remembered and especially co-operating  with  young people.“ Said Siegfried Bastl, chairman of the Waibstadt association “Jüdisches Kulturerbe im Kraichgau“.

He had organized a 4-day program together with the members of his association and the Steinsfurt associations “Freunde des Lerchennest“ and “Alte Synagoge Steinsfurt“. One day had been reserved by the Weil descendants from England, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Luxembourg for a visit to the place of birth of this Jewish tycon and benefactor. The representative of the local council, Rüdiger Pyck, welcomed the Weil family members in the court yard of the museum “Lerchennest“ where the chairman Hans Ingo Appenzeller, Manfred Götzinger and Marie-Luise Hirzel took over the guided tour through the special exhibition “ Tycon, Adviser, Founder and Benefactor – Hermann Weil.“ A further exhibition of many photos of the various Weil generations, some of them never shown before, from the rich fund owned by the local historian and Weil researcher Hans Ingo Appenzeller was greatly enjoyed and discussed by the guests. It proved that especially the older Weil descendants, for example the 90 year-old Carlos Weil, could  boast a profound knowlegde of German.

While some of the Weil Family had already been to the Kraichgau for the first family reunions in 2005 and 2014 some of them looked for the roots of their family in their ancestors' home town for the first time. The propeller of Max Weil‘s airplane who had landed in the Wiesental at the end of WW I proved to be a much desired object of photography. The demolition  of  Hermann Weil‘s parents' house caused different reactions. “This has also been my parents' house, but the fabric of the building was bad and could not be integrated into a new built. My son regrets that very much.“ said Appenzeller. Especially the younger generation of the Weil Family would have liked to have seen the house still intact, as was to be learnt from discussions. They picked up some stones from the now empty space to take home.

The documentation, also in English, and the tour of the Jewish houses in Steinsfurt were well appreciated, and personal stories and anecdotes told by the older generation livened up the tour.

Here Christhard Flothow of the association “Alte Synagoge Steinsfurt“ proved himself an expert of the Jewish families of Steinsfurt. Lunch in the centre of the catholic parish in Steinsfurt, a concert by the Steinsfurt Musikverein and the “Fest der Begegnung“, a coming together in the former synagogue had been organised by Jutta Stier and the association “Alte Synagoge Steinsfurt“. Sinsheim Mayor Jörg Albrecht also welcomed the Weil Family. “Reappraising our history is important“, said Jörg Albrecht, and he was as delighted as the Weil Family by the many young members of the “denk-mal-aktiv AG“ of the Wilhelmi Gymnasium. The students confirmed their promise “to remember, to warn and to act when injustice is happening, so that history will not repeat itself“.

Carlos Weil was obviously much touched by the “unforgettable program“.  In the name of the Weil Family he expressed his gratitude for all the hospitality and the way the history of the Weil Family is remembered. “We will keep you all in our hearts“, he said at the end of the reunion.

Picture: Descendants of Dr Hermann Weil on their visit to Steinsfurt also came to see the Lerchennest

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Photos from the event