On Thursday, the 11th February, we all had the opportunity to virtually meet Joe Hess, a survivor of the Holocaust from Fulda.
Joe Hess, born as Josef, was born in 1932 in Fulda and managed to flee, together with his sister, to Great Britain, where they lived with a foster family.
1948 he and his siter emigrated to the USA, where they both still live until this day. Seven years later, in 1955, Joe received the message of his father‘s survival despite him becoming a prisoner of war after surviving multiple camps. Consequently, he and his father reunited in Fulda.
In the following, two of our members will elaborate on their impressions during and after said meeting.
During the meeting I became conscious of multiple things: For one, I realised that a large proportion of today‘s people are getting stingier, meaner and more ungrateful by the day. This upsets me as there are so many things one could and should be thankful for. Furthermore, I once again became aware of the fact that if goals are fougth for one is also able to achieve them.
It is of greatest importace that one doesn‘t loose faith in oneself. In the end our life remains ours and as long as nobody is compromised by our choices we all should be allowed to do whatever we please with it! Moreover, it’s very important that the peace as we are experiencing it today should never get taken as granted. Peace is similar to a plant – if one doesn‘t take care of it, it‘ll die. Therefore, it should be our collective task to take care of it, protect it and maintain it.
We are ought to learn from our past as well as our mistakes to gradually make the world a better place day by day. And with that knowledge we shall redesign our future!
During the meeting with Joe Hess I became aware of multiple aspects. First of all, I had the privilege to meet an extraordinary example of bravery and endurance. I still can‘t grasp the concept of how survivors like Mr. Hess were able to cope and carry on with their lives.
I have also gained a better understanding of the circumstances in Fulda during that time. Before, I hadn‘t been able to find a deep connection between the effects of the Shoah and my home town, Fulda. It always seemed like a distant memory – present but never tangible. Mr. Hess‘ introducing speech made it clear for me how it must‘ve felt during and after that time – almost as if in a haze, scared, anxious and unaware of what was happening. Everything happened rapidly and only in retrospect did one realise the warning signs. As Mr. Hess was only a child during his departure to England I can‘t imagine how it must‘ve felt for those whom had an idea of their fate and those of others.
Finally, this meeting strengthened my belief that the commemoration of the victims of the Shoah is still as necessary as it has ever been and should remain a major goal of Germany and its citizens.
We are all very grateful for having had the opportunity to meet Joe Hess. Every single member of ours was able to use this opportunity in order to learn different things and take away varying lessons. We all were and still are incredibly impressed by this.
Thank you, Joe!