Frankfurt’s new mayor Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg visited the meeting point for survivors of the Shoah and their relatives on Wednesday. This, like the mayor herself, was very moved by the anti-Semitism allegations of the singer Gil Ofarim. He had said in a video that he had been turned away in a queue at the reception of the Leipzig “Westin” hotel because he was wearing a chain with a Star of David.
Every time she is here, she is emotionally touched, says Mayor Nargess-Eskandari-Grünberg (Greens). On Wednesday afternoon she stands not far from the piano, in front of her seat at the meeting point for survivors of the Shoah and their relatives, visitors die: inside over coffee and cake and also listen to her touched, nodding at her words. “You can’t believe what happened to Gil Ofarim,” says Eskandari-Grünberg.
Not being allowed to wear the Star of David in Germany is unbearable. This place that anti-Semitism occupies in Germany should not be allowed to increase. The singer Gil Ofarim had said in a video that he published on Instagram on Tuesday that he had been turned away in a queue at the reception of the Leipzig “Westin” hotel the previous evening because he was wearing a necklace with a Star of David. The Leipzig Public Prosecutor’s Office has started the investigation.
An elderly lady at the table says, “What happened to Ofarim makes it difficult to live here now.” Who reacted to other people in line. “Nobody said.”
Eskandari-Grünberg has been mayor for a month. As a prelude to a series of entrance visits, she has chosen the meeting point for survivors of the Shoah and their families. She has been here many times. Since 2002 there has been a weekly coffee drink there, as well as help in dealing with authorities, exchanges with other affected persons, psychological help. The project is financed through donations and is supported by the Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany.
There are still 200 survivors in the Rhine-Main area. 40 to 50 come to the café regularly; very few were born in Germany. Over 30 nations are represented here. Ivette Lendvai (85) survived Auschwitz as a small child. She says: “Here I meet people who have experienced the same thing as me. That is important. ”The second generation, whose parents often do not talk about what they have experienced, would also find an exchange here, says the head of the meeting place, Esther Petri-Adiel.
The meeting point started as a pilot project; There are now more than 30 meeting points across Germany. This place is a “second home” for the people, as Eskandari-Grünberg emphasizes. They not only share pain but also joy with one another. “It’s also a place to laugh and sing,” says Eskandari-Grünberg. A place of survival and extremely important for the culture of remembrance, which is also important for young people. She herself arrived in Frankfurt more than 35 years ago as a refugee from Iran. In her inaugural address, she talks about her father-in-law, who was the only one of 40 Jewish families to return to his village in northern Germany.
81-year-old Liliana Narell says that she only survived because her parents hid her as a baby with a woman in Poland. “When my mother picked me up at the age of five, she was a stranger to me. That traumatized me. ”She has lived in Frankfurt since 1953. She says: “I never wanted to leave a country again.” She emphasizes: “The fact that what happened to Ofarim must not be swept under the table. If he wasn’t prominent, no one would even have reported. “