We recently had an opportunity to visit Hamburg with Pastor Hartmut Kraft who leads the German congregation of the Methodist Church here in Kiel. Pastor Kraft gladly offered the church to Yenish and Natalya as a place to start the International Church of Kiel last year. We have been attending the German service each Sunday morning (the International Church meets in the evening). Pastor Kraft and his wife Irene live in Hamburg and he offered to show us around. What a blessing it was to have a local “tour guide”.
Here we are inside the Kiel Church. Pastor Harmut’s wife is also a Pastor. Pastor Irene is the District Superintendent for this district in Germany. She is the 2nd female to hold this office. There has only been 1 female Bishop.
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and is located on the Elbe River. It is truly a city of boats, canals and bridges. There are two really spectacular lakes in the middle of the city – the Inner Alster and the Outer Alster. Here we are standing in front of the smaller lake, the Inner Alster. The Outer Alster is past the bridge behind us.
One really neat thing about Hamburg is the beautiful churches. The most famous is St. Michael’s Lutheran Church which is amazing, both inside and out. All over Hamburg we saw some beautiful sites. Here are a few of the places we visited.
The most fascinating part of our trip to Hamburg was the discovery of the Stolpersteine (you can review these at http://www.stolpersteine.eu/en/home/). We found these as we entered Hamburg.
This stone was installed by the artist Gunter Deming. They are in over 610 places in Germany as well as in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Norway and Ukraine. Deming cites the Talmud saying that “a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten”. The Stolpersteine in front of the buildings bring back to memory the people who once lived here. Each “stone” begins with HERE LIVED… One “stone”. One name. One person. The above translates:
“Here lived Johann Heinrich Dudda. He was born 1885. He was arrested and was sent to death in February , 1936.”
We found these “stones” all over Hamburg, again in Kiel, and hopefully all over the area where Jewish people were persecuted. It is humbling to walk in their steps.