|Alan Bern's posting on Facebook|
|It's incredible, but it worked!
At 7 pm there were groups of people ringing handbells at the Stolpersteinstellen in Weimar (marking the places where Jewish families and businesses were located before they were driven away or murdered by Nazis). Several hundred passersby stopped, listened, started talking with each other about what was going on. In the middle of this, suddenly at 7:15 music of Mendelssohn, Debussy, The Other Europeans, blues started streaming out of the windows of Weimar apartments. The sound was amazing. People were walking up to each other in the streets asking "what's going on?" I have to admit, I didn't even consider how big that effect would be. The whole Weimar inner city became like a table at a family restaurant, where everyone is talking with everyone else, except surrounded by the sounds of jingling bells, music coming from windows, night. Then at 7:30 all of the bell towers started sounding, just unbelievable. I walked around Weimar and felt like I was in a dream. Streams of people started moving towards the Reithaus, where the concert started at 8 pm.
It was more than standing room - people of all ages sitting on the floor, standing in the aisles, standing outside of open doors. A Weimar community- and school theater group, DAS in Stellwerk, performed a piece created with students from the Goethe Gymnasium. Then the mayor of Weimar, Stefan Wolf, spoke, followed by Juri Goldstein from the Erfurt Jewish Community, and then the concert began. Amazing contributions from Miléna Kartowski, Diana Matut, the Handbell Choir of Gotha directed by Matthias Eichhorn, Matthias Wollong, and the 5th and 8th classes of the Humboldt Gymnasium. As the mayor put it, there has never been a gathering for such on occasion in Weimar that brought together so many people of so many different backgrounds. The concert was serious - 2 hours - not a peep from the concentrated audience, but laughter at the right places. What can I say? The city of Weimar was mobilized. It worked. Something changed. I deeply thank everyone who contributed to make this possible.