Artist gunter demnig carefully places the memorial stone, which glitters in the bright sunlight, in the gap in the walkway on nurnberger strabe 2. The golden stolpersteine commemorate a cruel part of the city’s history.
Here, in the middle of forchheim, lived julius moritz prager and his sister sera. The two grew up together with their three siblings in the royal city, they know every street and speak the french dialect. He was born in 1888, she seven years later.
Forchheim jews had no idea what was in store for them
Julius moritz goes to war for germany, even loses a leg and is awarded the iron cross. Sera, the youngest daughter of the pragers, leaves forchheim, returns to her hometown and lives with her siblings. They had no idea what was in store for them: on 23. March 1942 the nazis pick up the two forchheim jews and deport them to izbica in poland. Julius moritz and sera did not survive the nazi era. The circumstances of her death are unclear; the national socialists murdered her.
Two female students from the herder-gymnasium recite the cruel fate of the jewish brother and sister. Meanwhile, the kolner artist demnig fixes the two stumbling stones firmly into the ground. The artist from koln, who initiated the idea of the decentralized memorial, laid the first four stones in forchheim in february 2018.
On thursday four new ones arrived. In addition to the stumbling stones in nurnberger strabe, two stones in hornschuchallee 4 commemorate the forchheim women sofie kotz (born 1860) and rosa tiesler (1875). The many visitors and schoolchildren listen attentively to the life stories of the jews from forchheim. The orchestra of the herdergymnasium plays a jewish klezmer piece. Pastor martin emge speaks words of blessing.
The golden stolpersteine are intended to show that these were people from the middle of forchheim society. The principal of the herder-gymnasium, ingrid kafferlein, told how a schoolboy explained the idea: "one should not stumble in the literal sense or even fall down, one should stumble with the head and with the heart." The schoolchildren want to maintain and clean the stumbling stones in the future – and thus keep the memory of the deported forchheim jews alive.
The new stolpersteine commemorate these four people from forchheim:
Research: rolf kiebling, dr. Thomas greif, johannes freund
Julius moritz prager
1895 he is born as the fifth child of the married couple jakob and klara prager in forchheim in the fuchsenstrabe 4. He attends the catholic boys school in forchheim. Presumably he completes a commercial apprenticeship.
1915 J.M. Prager will die in 1. She served on the western front during world war II and was awarded the iron cross of the ll in 1917. Class awarded. He returns from the war badly wounded and tries to build up a new life for himself.
1922 he opens together with his sister lda a shoe shop in the house at paradeplatz 13. Both live for rent at nurnberger strabe 2.
In 1933, the local national socialists call for a boycott of jewish businesses.
1938 he is killed in the reichspogromnacht of 9. On the 10. November arrested and, as a leg-amputated war invalid, has to walk to the police station to fub. The next day he and other jewish citizens of forchheim are forced to load the rubble from the synagogue in wiesentstrabe, which has been blown up in the meantime, onto a cart.
1940 J.M. Prager will be forced to give up his apartment in klosterstrabe and move into the sog. Judenhaus at paradeplatz 4 to be pulled.
1942 together with his sister sera he will be born on 23. March deported to izbica (poland). The ghetto there was a transit station to the extermination camps belzec and sobibor. The circumstances of their deaths are unclear.
Sera rosenbaum, nee. Prague
1888 she is born as the youngest daughter of the five children of the married couple jakob and klara prager.
In 1909 she left forchheim and stayed in frankfurt and nurnberg, where she probably worked as a housekeeper.
1911 she marries the businessman benno rosenbaum and moves with him to nurnberg. The marriage remains childless.
1933 on a business trip, her husband suffers an accident under tragic circumstances and dies.
1934 after the death of her husband, sera rosenbaum returns to her hometown of forchheim and lives with her siblings lda and julius moritz prager, initially at nurnberger strabe 2.
1935 the prager siblings move into klosterstrabe 16.
1940 together with her brother she is forced to move into the house at paradeplatz 4. The older sister ida has died in the meantime.
1942 deported to lzbica/poland. The ghetto there was a transit station to the extermination camps belzec and sobibor. The exact circumstances of their deaths are not known.
Rosa tiesler, born. Becker
She was born in 1877 in the small town of zempelburg (western prussia), the daughter of horse trader salomon becker and his wife fritze. Nothing is known about her further life. Rosa becker meets the merchant paul tiesler, who comes from silesia and is an evangelical christian. They get engaged and move to forchheim.
1903 rosa decides to convert to the evangelical faith. It will be opened in st. St. John’s church in forchheim baptized. Soon after she marries the merchant paul tiesler. The couple runs a grocery store in the house at paradeplatz 13.
1924 her husband dies. She continues the business in hauptstrabe 55 for some time and changes the apartment several times.
1938 during the reichspogromnacht their apartment at wiesentstrabe 21 is vandalized. The situation becomes increasingly difficult for rosa in her church community as well. There are members of the congregation who find the presence of a jew who has converted to christianity unacceptable and want to exclude her from communion.
1941 she moves into the house of the also widowed jewess sofie kotz in today’s hornschuchallee 4. Both women are repeatedly subjected to harassment by the nazi regime,
1942 she receives notification from the local police authority that on 24. April "evacuated is to be. Rosa asks pastor kern of the johanniskirche for the HI. She takes communion and says goodbye "bitterly weeping," (…) clearly touched that she will not stay alive".
Rosa tiesler is first "deported" to bamberg. From there she is deported to poland with a transport of jews from lower franconia, whose destination is the town of krasnystaw in the district of lublin. There is a ghetto for 4000 jews until 1942. They are later deported to the transit camp lzbica and finally murdered in one of the mass extermination camps nearby. Nothing is known about the exact circumstances of the death of rosa tiesler.
Sofie kotz, b. Sara sternberg
1860 she is born in kirchheim near wurzburg as the daughter of the grain merchant lob sternberg and his wife rika.
1883 she marries in nurnberg the musician simon bruckner. Her husband is an evangelical christian and their son georg is also baptized an evangelical.
In 1887 her husband dies at the young age of 33. Sofie moves to forchheim presumably in 1888 and manages the household of the widower johann kotz.
1889 sofie wishes to be baptized catholic, as she intends to marry the widowed wagnermeister kotz.
1890 secular marriage in forchheim. From the marriage kotz the two children karl and maria theresia are born.
1899 sofie kotz registers a grocery and haberdashery business at alleestrabe 4 (today’s hornschuchallee).
1926 johann kotz dies at the age of 77. The house in alleestrabe becomes the property of softe kotz.
1944 she is deported to theresienstadt in january as the last jewish inhabitant of forchheim. According to the memorial book of the federal archives, she dies on 13 october 1944. October 1944 in theresienstadt. The circumstances of her death are unclear.
After the deportation of the last jewess from forchheim, sofie kotz, the leader of the local branch of the nazi party in forchheim, who is a school principal, says: "children, today we have a great historical day". Forchheim is completely free of jews. Today we have taken away the last jew, mrs. Kotz. Go home and tell your parents!"