As “remembering-honoring-reconciling” we are an initiative of the Evangelical Alliance in
Geislingen. We cooperate with the city of Geislingen, with committed citizens and with churches, political parties, educational institutions and companies. Our concern is to remember the Jewish women from the concentration camp. We tell their story and want to honor them after all the suffering. We cannot change history, but we can have a say in how it is continued. We build relationships with the families with the aim of connecting the descendants of the concentration camp victims to reconcile with us Germans and people from Geislingen. We are moved by the love that God has shown us in his Son Jesus Christ and we want to pass it on to the Jews, who are God’s chosen people.
In the 1980s, Dr. Hansjuergen Goelz began to reappraise the history of the satellite camp. His wish to erect a memorial in the city park met with bitter resistance. There was even a death threat. Even in 2010, the concentration camp satellite camp was completely unknown to many Geislingern citizens. Rosemarie and Hermann Schneider founded an Israel prayer group in the Volksmission and soon they came across the secret camp in the Jewish Museum Jebenhausen near Goeppingen. They approached the Evangelical Alliance in 2014 with a request to be supported in commemorative events. The chairman, Baptist pastor Matthias Lotz, had only shortly before learned of the Nazi past of one of his ancestors and was personally affected. Then he was told by a Messianic Jew that it was the grandchildren of the Nazis who would work for the reconciliation of Germany and Israel. He saw a divine calling in the request and was immediately involved.
After an initial memorial service in the Chapel Mill Hall, Rosemarie Schneider was given the Bible verse from Isaiah 60:14 “…and bowed down will come to you the sons of your oppressors, and all who have spurned you will bow down at the soles of your feet.”
At the same time, she heard from an acquaintance who knows someone whose daughter, while talking to a tour guide during a trip to Israel, heard: “My grandma was in a labor camp, a concentration camp in Germany, in Geislingen.” Shocked, she replied, “That’s where I’m from.” So contact was made with Hanna Mann and her family with a request if the Schneider family could visit them.
During this visit of the Schneider family in Israel in February 2015, they stayed in the guest house of Hanna and Jehuda Lavie at the Sea of Galilee. To plan the visit to Hanna Mann and her daughter Malka Zissman’s family, Rosemarie Schneider called the Lavies’ kitchen. There was a large WMF box there. “We are here to visit a woman who had to do forced labor at WMF during the Shoah,” Rosemarie said. Yehuda pointed to a large WMF box on the cabinet, “My cousin told me just two weeks ago that her mother was in the labor camp in Geislingen when she saw this WMF box on my kitchen cabinet. Do you want to meet this woman too? She’s still alive.”
Thus, in February 2015, the Schneider family met for the first time with Hanna Mann and Miryam Sobel and invited them to the planned memorial service in May. “I’ll be there and bring my family,” said Miryam Sobel.
A moving memorial service with several hundred participants followed. Thus, the preparatory team of this one memorial event became the initiative “remember – honor – reconcile” : Rosemarie and Hermann Schneider, Eva Kerner, Matthias Lotz and others