Unfolding CommunitiesThe Lost Jews of Mellrichstadt
A Memorial in remembrance of the former Jewish community of Mellrichstadt, situated in the Straße am See Donated by Alfred Gruen, USA
As Alfred Grünstein he was born at Mellrichstadt on February 28, 1924. Gustav Grünstein and Fanny Grünstein, née Blum, were his parents.
When he was ten, he changed school and attended the so called Gymnasium (grammar school) at Meiningen. Being a Jewish child he suffered a lot from harassments by “Arian” children during his daily trip to Mellrichstadt by train. Therefore his parents decided to move to Meiningen.
This was done on June 29, 1934. Of course, also at Meiningen the family was exposed to Nazi terror. But they could escape by emigrating to the USA in 1938. In the USA they changed their surname; so Alfred Grünstein was turned into Alfred Gruen.
His grandparents Michael and Ida Blum were left behind in Mellrichstadt. On March 13, 1941, they were forced to move to a Jewish home for the aged in Würzburg. From there they were deported to the ghetto of Theresienstadt on September 23, 1942, where both of them lost their lives.
Grandson Alfred Gruen, still today, is moved by his grandparents’ fate. In remembrance of these grandparents, but also of all the other Jewish citizens of Mellrichstadt, Alfred Gruen asked the sculptor Peter-Lorenz Emmert from Elfershausen to make this memorial.
Alfred Gruen had expected that the town of Mellrichstadt would contribute one half of the costs to remind of the former Jewish citizens of the town. But the town council rejected to give any money for that purpose.
That’s why the former Jewish citizen of Mellrichstadt Alfred Gruen took over all expense himself.
On Mai 19, 2004, the memorial was given over to the town of Mellrichstadt in a ceremonial act.
Only nine months later, during the night from February 25 to 26, 2005, it was overthrown by force.
The wrongdoers have never been found.
The town of Mellrichstadt paid for the repair.
Since 2013, on the Remembrance Day for the Victims of the World War, the town of Mellrichstadt reminds of the former Jewish citizens and lays down a wreath at the memorial.