This morning we departed the hotel and made our way to the Rosenstrasse memorial. I was completely unfamiliar with this event, and had no idea what to expect. Most of the items on the itinerary that I was unfamiliar with I intentionally did not investigate so that I could go in and learn on site, rather than trying to become an expert beforehand. I never understood people that did that.
We made our way into an innocent enough looking park. In the park stood several large stone structures. The structures depicted several scenes, and the thing that struck me first was the grief stricken faces. I immediately expected to hear another awful, horrible story of families being torn apart. Very quickly I came to see that this story was nearly unique in the overall legacy of the Holocaust. The memorial is dedicated to a protest which released a handful of Jewish males who were in mixed marriages. The idea of anyone standing up against the Nazi discrimination and being successful was unkown to me. The images that came to mind were the countless images of 'public shaming' used by the Nazis in the mid to late 30's when they were consolodating their power and spreading their horrendous propaganda. Business owners, teachers, doctors, lawyers, couples; the list goes on and on. This tale of protest; and more importantly one that worked, left me with a clear sense of 'what-if?'. What-if more had stood up? What if this small, yet important victory, had been followed up with wider protests? I remember reading that in all the years of the Nazi government creating this terror, there has been little to no evidence found of anyone in the German army being disciplined for insubordination over the actions taken against Jews and other Enemies of the Reich. What if more had spoken out, mobilized, formed a movement?
Later in the day, we watched a film on the Kalef sisters. These two sisters hid from the Germans during the Holocaust, and were sheltered by a 'Righteous Gentile' Father Trumpej. He also instilled an idea in Breda to use her vocal talents given from God. She did, and became one of the great operatic singers of her time. To me, the film was brilliant, and moving. The ending portion of Breda singing after describing her overtures to bestow Father Trumpej with the Righteous Gentile award after his death brought tears to my eyes.