Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Sunday Afternoon Walk Through the New Jewish Cemetery of Frankfurt

A beautiful fall day from our balcony
 Today is spectacular. There is a chill in the air, but the sunshine is abundant and the sky is a clear blue. We had a wonderful testimony meeting at church, and Sunday School and priesthood and relief society were also uplifting. We're amazed at the talent in this Frankfurt 2nd Ward. Jeff was thinking during the meeting about the prophecy of Daniel of a stone cut from the mountain without hands that would roll forth and fill the earth in the last days. In this international ward, you get a sense of the global reach of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We sat next to a young man from Shanghai who was here on a business trip. He joined the church in Logan Utah where he was a graduate student in mechanical engineering. He has been the branch clerk for his branch in Shanghai for 4 1/2 years. He told us that they have 120-140 people attend church regularly. They also make annual trips to the temple in Hong Kong and take 100 members or so. The church is quietly growing even there.

After church, we decided to take a walk to the cemetery across Marbacherweg. We didn't realize that it was not connected to the main cemetery, but we entered a gate for the New Jewish Cemetery. It's only new in relation to the Old Jewish Cemetery which has been in place since the 13th century. The new cemetery opened in 1928 or 1929. It is full of graves and monuments to victims of the Shoah or Holocaust and the graves of survivors. Shoah is Hebrew for "the catastrophe." Walking the cemetery is sobering, even though it is a peaceful and beautiful place. Jeff didn't know, but men are requested to wear a head covering. A young man walking by stopped to tell him in German. He wasn't rude, but he was serious. We certainly meant no disrespect. In fact, we were filled with sadness at the thought of such incredible inhumanity. How could people be persuaded that an entire group of people did not deserve to live because of their heritage?

The trees are brilliant with color

The cemetery is spotlessly maintained

Watering cans for patrons

Each gravesite is uniquely landscaped

A proud man who survived Auschwitz to teach us love and wisdom. Inscriptions were in French, Hebrew, and English. The two hands signify a descendant of Aaron and are meant to make one think of a priestly blessing.

Most tombstones carry the two letter Hebrew inscription shown above. This is an abbreviation for two Hebrew words meaning "here lies." The German below here also says "here rests."

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