A German friend remembers my family for Totensonntag

  • November 20, 2022
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Every year for Totensonntag, a German friend takes her son to the stolpersteine that memorialize my family in Stockstadt am Rhein — my mother’s town. Totensonntag is a Protestant religious holiday in Germany and Switzerland that commemorates those who have departed. My friend sent me this photo this morning of the candle she placed at my family’s stumbling stones.

Recently, I read this fascinating article, “Monuments to the Unthinkable” by Clint Smith, author of HOW THE WORD IS PASSED — a book I highly recommend.

“It is impossible for any memorial to slavery to capture its full horror,” Smith writes, “or for any memorial to the Holocaust to express the full humanity of the victims. No stone in the ground can make up for a life. No museum can bring back millions of people. It cannot be done, and yet we must try to honor those lives, and to account for this history, as best we can. It is the very act of attempting to remember that becomes the most powerful memorial of all.”

Thanks to my German friend, Tanja Kraft, for remembering.

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