Woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast. Began writing this document and transferring photos to the computer. Had a scare when the power caused this computer to make a bad sound and shut down. Left the computer alone, put in a new battery and it restarted, thankfully.
Random Walk around Pocking
We walked around Pocking for a few hours, stopping at bookstores, and at Monika’s store to buy some water. Had a little time to kill before we were going to be picked up by George for the dedication of the Children’s Memorial.
Children’s Memorial Service
We changed into our suits, were picked up by George, and we drove over to Passau, picking up Shelley and heading over to my grandfather’s memorial and the new Children’s Memorial. We got there early so that we could look around at the memorials before the crowds appeared. It was raining lightly (got a little stronger and much windier as the afternoon progressed). The place has a wall and trees between the road and the memorial (put in place when they tried to hide the monument in the 50s and 60s and let it go to waste). Now the wall has some of the names of those buried there (from the original memorial) and the original, tall memorial has blank spaces where the plates with the names used to be. It upset my mother that they moved those plates and she’s going to try to have them fix it. From the main, tall memorial (the original) you go up a short flight of stairs on the left to the new children’s memorial.
We also met a woman who had come after reading about the ceremony in the papers. She wanted to place a stone and a rose on the tomb for the children. She wouldn’t or couldn’t describe why she wanted to be there.
The ceremony took place. My mother, Ami and I all spoke as did Anna and others. I have it on video and hope to put it online at some point – but it will probably wait till after I have all the text and pictures up. In the meantime, you can read the text of my speech here.
A few notes on the memorial for the children – it’s for the children who died in the Displaced Persons (DP) camps. After the war, women had been so undernourished that most of their children were born with spina bifida – and due to the lack of medical capabilities after the war, most of them died from infections – there were also claims that one woman had puctured a number of them with an infected needle as well. I don’t know enough about this story. This was a memorial to those who died after the war, due to its aftereffects.
Beer with the Mayors
We left the service and headed into Pocking to the hotel, where the three mayors met us in our hotel for some beers. Pocking is a town of only 15,000 people, so why does it need 3 mayors? It’s because there’s a tradition that from the time you turn 18, and every 5 years after that, the mayor joins you at your birthday for a party. They can have up to 10 of these a week, and they need the three to eat the cake. <g>
The pictures attached are as follows:
- Anna speaking. Behind her is her daughter, Bea Grace – recently returned from Iraq where she worked in JAG preparing evidence for the trials of Saddam Hussein and his cronies.
- My mother standing near one of the plates.
- The original memorial
- The new children’s memorial
- Shelley Shapiro and the woman
- From left to right: the Rabbi of Passau, my mother, Shelley Shapiro and Anna Rosmus
- On the left is the mayor, Jakob. To his right is the first deputy mayor, Franz