They began life as Heinz and Manfred, growing up in the village of Hoffenheim, not far from Heidelberg. But history, wearing a brown shirt, descended upon them, and within a few years, Heinz was calling himself Menachem and was starting life over in Israel, and Manfred became Fred when he moved to America.
The story of their wartime survival and the fate of their parents is what we tell in this story—and how they made the decision to return to Hoffenheim for a visit.
Our film is narrated in three versions—in German, in Hebrew and in English--by Ilay Elmkies, an 18-year-old Israeli soccer player enrolled in the TSG Hoffenheim Youth Academy.
On the June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, sparking World War I. (See the film footage of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's July 1914 funeral.)
Ferdinand’s assassination by the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, created a series of chain reactions that culminated in the world’s first global war. To read more on the several events that led to World War I such as Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the death of Ferdinand, click here.
You can find a series of useful articles here about the World War I from the BBC, ranging in topics from the descent into war, campaigns and battles, the human experience of the war and on the debates and controversies in the aftermath of World War I. You can also map out the main events of the war.
How did World War I end? On November 11 1918, representatives from the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne (named after the location in which it was signed). An armistice is an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time. In this armistice the conditions ended Germany’s possibility of continuing the war and was effectively a German surrender.
A Peace Conference held in Paris between January 1919 and January 1920 shaped the peace process. Throughout this conference separate peace treaties were established with each of the defeated nations. The most significant treaty was drawn up with Germany, signed on 28 June 1919 and is called the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles had several conditions including: the drastic reduction in the size of the German Army, Germany stripped of all its colonies and Germany’s responsibility for reparations.
After World War I, a federal republic was established in Germany. It was known as the Weimar Republic and was in effect from 1919-1933. The creation of the German republic was announced from the Reichstag balcony on 9 November 1918 by Philipp Scheidemann. Listen to original audio tapes documenting the proclamation of the German Republic.
Even though the Weimar Republic faced severe problems, such as hyperinflation and political extremists of all persuasions, it was also a time in which culture flourished. It is known for its unique art, music and cinema. Here is an overview of the Weimar period and here you can find more information about the timeline of events, personalities and read primary sources.
The Great Depression, the worldwide economic crisis that started in the US on October 29, 1929 known as Black Tuesday, amplified Europe's difficulties and struggle for recovery after War World I. Among the European states, the Great Depression hit the Weimar Republic particularly hard. This young democracy was the regime that replaced the defeated German Empire after World War I. Yet, The harsh stipulations in the Treaty of Versailles did not help to settle international disputes which had caused World War I. On the contrary, the peace treaties were perceived as unfair punishment and exacerbated exisiting issues.
The Treaty of Versailles was felt to be particularly oppressive to many Germans. The treaty stipulated large reparation payments and restrictions on the German Military which created the landscape that eventually saw Hitler come to power in 1933. Hitler's accession to power set off a series of events that led to World War II.
The Jewish Virtual Library provides an in-depth description about German Jewish life in the Middle Ages, the Modern Period, the Holocaust and post- Holocaust period up until the present.
Prior to emancipation in 1871, German Jewish men often could not pursue their professions due to their religion. Political writer Karl Ludwig Börne (born Loeb Baruch) converted to Christianity. Others, such as Gabriel Riesser, fiercely pursued the cause of emancipation. There were setbacks - such as the Hep Hep Riots in 1819 - but as the century wore on, Jews were increasingly part of German professional and social life, as seen later in the career of Paul Ehrlich, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1908.
In addition to contributing to European culture, some German Jews adapted Judaism to fit the modern, post-Enlightenment world. Abraham Geiger was at the forefront of the Reform movement that strove to make Judaism relevant to assimilated, modern Jews. Samson Raphael Hirsch, the foremost spokesperson for Neo-Orthodoxy (the forerunner of what is known as Modern Orthodoxy today), accepted a position in Frankfurt as rabbi of an Orthodox community that was interested moderate reforms, such as modern dress and speaking German.
With their rise in social and economic status during the 19th century, Jews became strongly patriotic towards Germany, which is why a significant number of Jewish soldiers fought for Germany in World War I. In this film we learn that Heinz and Manfred's father served in the German army in World War I, and recieved a medal of distinction, call the Iron Cross. Browse this homepage dedicated to these German Jewish soldiers.
In January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, his ascension to power marked the beginning of Nazi terror. Life became increasingly more unbearable as anti-Semitic policies and violence were legally sanctioned and politically justified.
In the video we learn that Manfred and Heinz are excluded from school and social life. The regulations put into effect in Germany gradually but systematically took away citizens rights. The first set of legislation, from 1933 to 1945, focused predominately on excluding Jews from German public life. In April 1933, German law restricted the number of Jewish students allowed at German schools and universities. Anti-Jewish legislation continues throughout the period preceding World War II, including the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which put in to place many racial theories prevalent in Nazi theory. To learn more on Anti Jewish Legislation click here.
In this film we learn that the synagogue in Hoffenheim was destroyed during the November Pogroms. On November 9 – 10, 1938 there were a series of pogroms, against Jewish people carried out by the Nazis. This pogrom is known as Kristallnacht, which literally translates to the “Night of Crystal” or often referred to as the Night of Broken Glass. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shattered glass on the streets of Germany after the pogrom, the broken glass came from the destroyed windows of synagogues, family homes, and businesses/stores owned by Jewish people. During this pogrom rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. As the pogrom continued to spread, SS units and the Gestapo (Secret State Police), arrested up to 30,000 Jewish males. To learn more about what happened during the November Pogrom we recommend reading this article by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Manfred, Heinz and their family were deported from Germany to France, to the internment camp called Gurs. The Gurs camp was overcrowded and there was limited clothing, water and food.
The two brothers only found out at the end of the war that their parents were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz, where they were murdered.
Thousands of Jews tried to flee the Nazi terror in Germany, but were unable to find countries willing to let them in. Many German and Austrian Jews who tried to obtain visas for the United States were confronted with immigration quotas that discriminated against groups considered “ethnically undesirable”. In July 1938, a conference was held in Evian, France to discuss the emigration of Jewish refugees. At the Evian Conference there were international delegates from 32 counties, yet most countries, did not let in additional refugees. This USHMM article discusses emigration further and the unsuccessful efforts to loosen immigration quotas in 1938, during the Evian Conference.
Manfred immigrated to America, and in 1951 he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and changed his name to Fred Raymes (using the letters of his previous surname). Fred fought for the U.S. Army in the Korean War and later studied aeronautical engineering. While working at Grumman Aircraft Fred was involved with the early drawings of the Apollo Spacecraft.
However, after the war the brothers did not live in the same countries. Heinz immigrated to Israel in 1948, after the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was approved. David Ben-Gurion became the first Prime Minister of Israel. Immigration of Jews from the diaspora to Israel is known in Hebrew as Aliyah, which literally translates to "going up." This article provides insight into the history of Jewish migration and the concept of a Jewish Diaspora. Throughout Jewish history, there have been several waves of aliyah, they have been categorized by date and the country of origin of the immigrants. To learn more on the different waves of aliyah click here.
When Heinz made aliyah he changed his name to a Hebrew name - Menachem. Menachem joined the Israeli Army in 1950 and later moved to live on a kibbutz. Kibbutzim are generally rural communities that are built around the notion of cooperative living. Menachem worked in several jobs on the kibbutz including helping orphaned children.
The narrator of the movie a 17-year-old boy who moves from Israel to Germany with his family explains this films title which is a Hebrew word: Zahor, meaning to remember.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on January 27. According to USHMM this rememberance day acts as an official commemoration of the victims of the Nazi Regime and to promote Holocaust education throughout the world.
After the holocaust there has been a big emphasis on remembrance so that the atrocities are never again repeated. There is now a memorial for the Jews of Hoffenheim that were deported to Gurs erected at the train station in Hoffenheim. There is also a foundation for a youth exchange program between German and Israeli students, and a fund for the faculty of Jewish studies at Heidelberg University. Heidelberg is the city where from 1937-1940 Heinz and Manfred attended a Jewish school.
In the film we also learn of the Menachem (Heinz) and Fred (Manfred) hiking trail that leads from Hoffenheim to Neidenstein on a length of 8 kilometres. Before World War II Menachem and Fred regularly walked this path through the fields and woods to visit their grandmother. The Menachem and Fred hiking trail was established by young soccer players who are members of the TSG Hoffenheim Youth Academy, to honour the two brothers.