„How Hitler Would Turn Over in His Grave“

Kurier (Elisabeth Holzer), June 27, 2017

German Original: https://kurier.at/chronik/oesterreich/wie-hitler-sich-im-grabe-umdrehen-wuerde/271.936.436

For the first time stumbling blocks were installed for students who were displaced by the Nazis in Graz.

Ninety-five stumbling blocks are already installed in Graz, embedded in the asphalt in front of buildings across the city; they are to remember the people who lived there before they were dispelled by the Nazis.

Today, Tuesday, 27 more are added. For the first time, the little cenotaphs are installed in front of a school: they commemorate 27 Jewish students who had to leave the Oeverseegymnasium after Austria’s Anschluss to Hitlerite Germany.

Among those students was Kurt Eisler. In 1939, the Eislers managed to escape to Palestine on the „Lisl Transport“ via Vienna. Three-hundred Jews were able to rescue themselves through this illegal route.

In 1949, Kurt married Gerda, his brother’s widow, in Palestine. Gerda (nee Engel, too, is originally from Graz; she is now 90 years old and has been living in Germany since 1969; her husband passed away in 2003. Her memories were also published in a book, edited by historic society „CLIO.“

Stumbling stones were already laid down for her grandfather, as well as for her parents Heinrich and Rosa. Gerda and her husband Kurt attended the dedication of the re-erected synagogue in Graz in 2000. Gerda remembers how the mayor of Graz at the time, Alfred Stingl (SPÖ), showed his guests on to the balcony at City Hall. „There we were, a large group of dispelled Jews from Graz, who returned to their home,“ she writes. „I imagined how Hitler would turn over in his grave if he could see this scene. I would never have dreamt that something like this would happen to me.“

Book tip: Gerda Eisler, "Alles, woran ich glaube, ist der Zufall", Verlag CLIO, 18 Euro