Creglingen’s Old Town Hall was one of the sites where the Nazis perpetrated the first organized violence against Jews. On March 25, 1933, immediately after the Enabling Act was issued, units of the SA and the police stormed the local synagogue, supported by Karl Stahl, Creglingen’s Nazi group leader. They claimed to be searching for hidden weapons, they threatened 16 Jewish men and forcibly drove them here, to the town hall, where the men were badly beaten. Two of the men died of their injuries. The wife of a third suffered a fatal cardiac arrest due to the fear and stress.
All this happened in plain view of the public. The mayor of the day was present. The building opposite housed a school, where lessons were taking place. Nobody intervened. The pastor of Niederstetten, Hermann Umfried, who criticized the violence from the pulpit the following Sunday, was reprimanded by his superiors, harassed by the Nazis and ultimately driven to suicide.
In 2005, the town of Creglingen established a memorial site in the place where these events occurred. The former conference room on the second floor now serves as a space for remembrance and silence. This was where the men were held and humiliated, before being take away for bogus interrogations. They were also brought back here after the severe mistreatment.
Students at the Stuttgart Academy of Art redesigned the room to create a memorial site. They devised an austere, empty space that explores the dissonance between seeing and not-seeing, between wanting to see and wanting not to see. There is a Memor Book in the anteroom that provides information about what happened and commemorates the victims of March 25, 1933.
Along with the Jewish Museum and the Jewish Cemetery, the memorial site is part of Creglingen’s Topography of Remembrance.
Foto: © Stadt Creglingen