The weather on this day was cool and gray but luckily no rain to speak of except for a few sprinkles. We spent a leisurely morning in the hotel. In the afternoon one of our students from SDSU in 2009, Marc, came from Munich to visit with us. We spent the day eating and walking our way through town.
We first stopped at a charming café by the name of Utopia where we had cakes and coffee while we caught up on each other’s lives. It was filled with red velvet banquettes and delicious tasting cakes. The place was filled with tables of retired older women which Marc said was a good sign as these older women know good cakes when they taste them.
We explored the city on foot wandering around the Old Jewish Cemetery where the walls surrounding the cemetery are filled with the names of those killed in concentration camps. Small metal boxes mounted on the walls record the names, the concentration camp, if known, as well as the date of birth and date of death if known. The headstones date as far back as 1272 – the oldest material evidence of Jewish life in Frankfurt. This cemetery was used until 1828 when a new cemetery was created. The cemetery itself does not appear to be so well maintained due to the fact that in 1939 the Jewish community was forced to sell their cemeteries and other properties in Frankfurt to the city. The plan had been to level the cemetery and in 1943 6,500 gravestones were demolished. Only about 175 selected tombstones of historical importance, or value from an artistic sense, were saved. Fortunately, demolition of the cemetery was halted due to bombings. Debris and rubble were dumped there instead. As a result, 2,500 tombstones remain fully preserved along with thousands of fragments. At the end of Nazi rule, the cemetery was returned to the newly formed Jewish Community and clean-up work continued until the 1950’s.
Our next stop was the majestic St. Bartholomew’s Church known for its history as the former election and coronation church of the Holy Roman Empire. Today’s church, built in the 1950’s after suffering severe damage during the war, is the third known church on the site with the oldest dating back to the seventh century.
We spent some time sitting in the main town square outside the city hall building watching the people go by. For dinner we found a wonderful brasserie called Oscar’s in a fancy hotel where we had a delicious dinner. The boneless lamb shank with couscous, roasted vegetables, dates and almonds was very tasty. Kent enjoyed a burger!