Note Box 2013

With texts from female students of the Elisabeth School Marburg

A transcript

In the first year the boxes contained statements from members of the Jewish community and their descendents whose parish was destroyed by the National Socialists. This was the prelude to an on-going dialogue about this site.

The contributions for 2013 came from a totally different perspective. Female students of the Elisabeth School in Marburg asked and questioned persons from their own circles what the memorial on the site of the old synagogue meant to them today.

The initiative for the project that female students (17 – 19 years old) from the Elisabeth School in Marburg should untertake on the site of the old synygogue came from the teachers Jutta Solten- diek-Plenge and Inga Theis in August 2013.

The aim of the 10 members of the working group (WG) was to provide contributions for the Note Boxes in the Garden of Remembrance for one year i.e. Until 9th of November 2014

The members of the WG met several times at the garden to gather information especially concerning Jewish life in Marburg. Between these meetings the students exchanged views and opinions, assembled their impressions, interviewed students (of both genders), relations and friends and worked on their contributions for the Note Boxes.


The project begins with a visit to the Garden of Remembrace including an introduction to the two artists Oliver Gather and Christian Ahlborn who designed the site for the town of Marburg. The students receive information about the old synagogue, the design of the memorial and what the artists had in mind regarding the Note Boxes.

In the discussion which followed there was an intense exchange between the students and the artists as to the contents of the boxes, the types of questions to be addressed and how to proceed further. As to the question why these young persons wanted to take part in such a project; the answer comes correspondingly simple – that which was taught in the school about National Socialism was simply not enough – they wanted to go more deeply into the subject with their own research.


A „Stolperstein“ (= tripstone) walk through the old town

In the last few years – also within the framework of school projects – small memorial „stones“, which are actually made of brass, were set into the pavements in front of the houses or apartments where Jewish citizens lived and who were murdered by the National Socialists. The initiator of this project was Gunter Demnig.

The students make themselves familiar with the history and with the day-to-day life of Jewish citizens in Marburg.

From the remarks noted by a student

„It was known to us just how near and what everyday events the hate against the jews, the discrimination and the deportation were. The Jews were fellow citizens like the rest of us, then suddenly they had to endure this awful mistreatment. We must ask ourselves how it could come to this – that nobody intervened, nobody realised what it meant when Jews were driven from their homes and taken away.“


A guided tour through the Jewish cemetery with Frau Dr. Rumpf-Lehmann

In addition to extensive information about the history of the cemetery, and about religious symbols and burial ceremonies we are concerned here also with the nature of Jewish life in Marburg. This includes that of well-known, important families, of less important families, of particular professional groups, the role of women and the new start for the Jewish parish after the end of the war.


The final editing

Together with the designers and the teachers overseeing the project the student WG choose the text for the new Note Boxes. In a long evening session in the Elisabeth School the material which the WG have collected in the last 4 weeks is brought together. Now begins the search for suitable statements for the Note Boxes in the Garden of Remembrance.

Many texts, statements and other results of researches lie on the table. Some students have already formulated their own texts others have asked fellow students, friends or relations what they know about National Socialism and the holocaust.

Through questioning others, ones own researches and the retention of so many ideas, the WG attempts to bring such heterogeneous standpoints and states of knowledge about National Socialism. the holocaust, memories and thoughts together so that they can use them. What meaning does National Socialism have for persons of a similar age today? What responsibility do individual persons carry for this history? How interesting and how important are places of remembrance like the garden on the site of the old synagogue? What definite pictures form in the heads of persons observing this empty site where once a religious life took place? And lastly which statements regarding this place of remembrance are most suitable for the Note Boxes?

There are no consistent answers or statements. Some persons of this age don’t know anything or don’t want to know anything and see no connection between National Socialism and themselves. Others felt themselves to be well informed, even overinformed, about this theme which they regard as having been ‘sucked dry’. For some persons questioned, including WG members, the horror of the holocaust is simply unimaginable.

The Marburg-connection does seem somehow make it more real, clearer and the victims more visible.

For one student the possession of German nationality is loaded with problems – one is automatically labelled as a Nazi.

Related are those statements that we cannot disclaim memories, each and everyone is a product of history …… including National Socialism. It is however open as to whether the young must inherit this responsibility. Of prime importance is to ensure that the future will be better.

At this point only a fragment of the whole debate, discussion and statements can be presented. What is clear is just how intense was the altercation about the design and purpose of the Garden of Remembrance.

Similarly there was not time enough, even after many hours, to reach agreement concerning the texts of Notes to be placed in the Note Boxes. The students met once again, alone, to decide finally on the 10 texts for the Note Boxes. These will be ready to be placed in the Note Boxes on 9th November and be presented on the occasion of the Ceremony of Remembrance on 10th November. One student will then give a report on the work of the WG which culminated in the choice of statements for the Notes.

Text and photo documentation: Gerd Krüger, Schulkultur e.V.
Tel: 307 410, mail: schulkultur@web.de

Student verbal contributions
to the memorial celebrations

Contribution download




Note 2013