Dresden, Germany


11 September  2014

Yonatan Zwecher’s Visit


I learned a lot about the life of my family, about the Jewish History in Dresden, Berlin and generally in Germany, on the current Jewish Life Community in Dresden, about Dresden itself, about Jewish people all over the world, and – for sure – I learned a lot about myself.

1st installation

Dear Audience

I tried yesterday and I will continue in the coming days to try to follow the traces of my ancestors. Feel the streets , breathe the air , imagine a young couple comes here from a small town in eastern Poland , engaged in trade , creates a family and a new life , unites with brother which also comes here , and he also creates a family and a new life. Both families deep plunge into the decrees of the Nazi regime, until they find themselves deported to Poland and eventually reach Tarnow, short time before the beginning of World War II. Only my grandfather survived from the seven members of my family who lived here.

Near the house we are standing by, on Ritschestraße  19, lived my great grandfather -  Owadie Leib Zwecher [להציג תמונה], born on June 9, 1880 in Kolomea, married my great-grandmother, Chana  geboren Frankel[להציג תמונה], who was born Bukowina on October 23, 1879. Together they migrated here, probably in 1911. On the house was here, they lived and conducted their business, which included: trading of carpets, tapestries, textiles, steel products, clothing, and more.

From here they went to the synagogue "Tomchei Nizrochim" which was located on Sporergasse 2 street, and my great grandfather was his treasurer in 1931-1932.

Here they raised their children : the sister of my grandfather , Malka Lea - who was born on July 21, 1919 , and did not continue her studies after high school - and my grandfather, Chaskel.

Chaskel Zwecher, my grandfather was born on November 11, 1912 , and at age 16 he got to manage the office of the Jewish Youth Orchestra of the community . He began Law studies at Leipzig University, but he was thrown out because he was Jewish.

He then studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau , where he stayed until the expulsion of the OstJuden in October 1938 and the KristalNacht which took place about 2 weeks later. Due to the events he wasn't able  to finish his studies and he received only a certificate of a teacher of religious studies instead of been certificated as Rabbiner.

My great-grandfather and his family were part of the community of Eastern European Jews (OstJuden) and their fate binds to the fate of all of the Eastern European Jews who lived in Germany. On Friday, October 28, 1938, the eve of Shabbat Noah, the next family members were deported to Zbaszyn:

A. My great grandfather, Owadie Leib Zwecher

B. My great-grandmother, Channe Zwecher

C. Their Daughter, Malka Lea Zwecher

The right of learning Torah was held my grandfather, and on the expulsion of the Jews in Poland he wasn't at home, because of his studies in the Jüdisch-Theologisches Seminar in Breslau. When he returned home, he found the house in the midst of preparations to Schabat but without his family which was deported abruptly.

He tried to join to his family, but he did not succeed to do that. Deprived of Polish citizenship and without residence permit in Germany, he remained in Germany under great fear. During part or all of this period, he lived in Röhrhofsgasse 16. He was arrested and imprisoned in Dresden police headquarters, and released from there subject to liability to leave Germany. This liability was fulfilled with the help of Frau Sylvia Burg. Frau Burg sent a letter to her son, Rabbiner Dr. Yosef Burg, who was located in Israel. In the letter she wrote, "If you want that someone from the Zwecher's will survive, you have to send immigration certificate to Chaskel Zwecher." The immigration certificate arrived, and after a long journey, he came to Israel, sailing off the coast of Italy a few days before Italy joined to the side of Germany on World War II.

In Israel, my grandfather married my grandmother, Frau Lea Rebhun in 1942. 3 years after that, their son - Meir – which is my father, was born, and on 1949 my aunt Chana was born.

2nd installation speech

Dear Audience

About 45 minutes ago, we stand on Rietschelstraße 19, next to the place where my great-grandfather , Owadie Leib Zwecher, lived with his family, including my grandfather, Chaskel Zwecher. I would like to speak on the next minutes about my great-grandfather's brother , Simon Zwecher.

Szymon Zwecher was born on February 26, 1897, and he came to Dresden on August 2, 1922. At the beginning he lived in the same house where his brother, my great grandfather, Owaide Leib Zwecher, lived, but in different entrance. He integrated into the family business.

In 1935 he married Anna Weinsieder, born June 5, 1905. They lived in Ritschestraße  15 and then moved to Steinstraße 3 and to Ziegelstraße 54, next to the place we stand now. Their only son, Bernard, which was named after the father of Anna, was born on the eighth of January 1939.

My great-grandfather brother was part of the community of Eastern European Jews (OstJuden) and their fate binds to the fate of all the Eastern European Jews who lived in Germany. On Friday, October 28, 1938, the eve of Shabbat Noah, Simon Zwecher was deported to Zbaszyn.

Anna Zwecher, Simon's wife, wasn't deported along with her husband, although she was also part of OstJuden. We can only estimate that she wasn't deported due to the fact she was pregnant.

As the years go by, I feel that the distance between me and the events of the Holocaust is shrinking. It probably also caused by the fact that as I live more years, I realize the time on a different scale. But I think it is also caused by another main fact; I deeply realized how the world was modern world - including education and the media - when it got into the horrible period of the Holocaust. As I learn more about Jewish life, and the world , I understand the Holocaust wasn't occur in different world , but in a world very close to ours, very close to the world we know. In world which was relatively very similar to ours, the horrors took place, where my family was displaced.

I want to thank to Frau Lilli Ulbrich and to the Jewish community, to Daniela Wittig and to the organization Hatikva, to Frau Gabriele Atanassow and to Saxon Memorial Foundation, to Mr. Gunter Demnig ,to Dr. Sussane Ritschel and to the organization Stolpersteine ​​für Dresden , and to everyone came here.  I am asking everyone to continue to perpetuate the glorious Jewish community which was here, the wonderful people who have lived here their lives as Jews to and brutally displaced. It is our duty to our past, and is also critical step in protecting our world from anti-Semitism .

Below are the pictures for the "Stolepersteine" installations.