On this ice cold February day, I found myself alone on a remote hill near Berlichingen (a small Southern German town), visiting an old Jewish cemetery while taking a walk. I had been here before some years ago and wanted to feel that atmosphere again.
The cemetery (used from the 17th century until the early 20th century) has a very special feel to it, something very old and forgotten (although it certainly isn’t – the cemetery is simply no longer used because there aren’t many jews living in Germany nowadays, for reasons that I don’t have to explain). I walked around on the dry leaves and except for that sound, it was utterly quiet.
I certainly didn’t have any morbid or even eerie feelings, it was rather peaceful here. There were actually just trees and stones here; the distant history of many lives existed only in thoughts. But there was something here that I can’t quite put into words.
In the far corner of the cemetery, this stone said, ‘in this area tender children lie’. I was happy that there weren’t any Nazi victims lying here, that would really have been creepy. The last funeral was 1932. All the jews buried on this cemetery were respected citizens living in times when this madness hadn’t begun yet.
I eventually had to leave as the sun was setting and it was getting really cold. The light rays were almost horizontal, lighting up the beautiful lichen patterns on the stones.