Open the Door.
Stephanie Aehnelt glanced nervously over the 250 empty chairs in the Heimathafen Theatre. The main stage lights were down and a film screen occupied the central stage area.
Liga Terezin was running and sound engineers were adjusting levels. The high celling and hanging chandeliers demanded a different level of professional care. This was not a cinema or a screening room.
Local Neukolln neighborhood traffic could not be counted on to fill the chairs of a Holocaust related film and tonight the numbers mattered. Sponsors, organizers and Media find comfort in numbers.
2 hours later chairs had been added and people were sitting upstairs. 340 was the final tally and it was the football side that showed its strength.
Tennis Borussia Berlin fans have watched their team tumble down the Berlin League hierarchy but they remain true to its values – upholding the clubs Jewish identity, playing in purple to represent Gay rights and retaining Tennis in its league title, even thought they having nothing to do with that game. Their organization apparatus enlisted the numbers but also ensured their quality.
TeBe’s Martin Endemann, deals with human rights on the football fan continental level and is a leading figure behind the scenes. He describes the dynamic behind football social strengths, ‘ football is one of the few opportunities where people meet on a regular basis. It’s only in football where people meet every Saturday – be it a home game, away game. It’s a pretty important part of live of many supporters.
The idea behind the showing of Liga Terezin in 7 cities, is articulated by Ronny Blaschke, the trip initiator: ‘ It took Germany 5,6 decades to talk about the Holocaust. In the past 10 years we have a confident commemoration and culture of commemoration. Some would say this is almost a routine.’
It is about the same time it took Moshe Breda, to come to terms with those memories and open them up to his son Oded.
The responsibility is now on our shoulders to open that door in a way that eyewitnesses will see forever even after they pass away.
Tonight we are in good company. Stephanie Aehnelt, the Director of Heimathafen Theatre welcomed us by Opening the Door:
‘ In the year 1942 furniture and other belongings of Jewish citizens were stored in this hall in order to sell them later. We now try to find out more about the people who and the where about of the furniture. Together with the people of today we research this times in Neukolln and try and link them to the present and bring their stories on stage.’