Homesick for Themar

In 1983 Manfred Rosengarten from San Francisco writes a letter to his former class mate in Themar about his homesickness. After the expulsion by the Nazis he had found a new home in the USA. Soon after the first letter a lively correspondence between the inhabitants of Themar and their former Jewish classmates and neighbors begins. In 2011 descendants of Jews from Themar visit the small town at the river Werra for the first time. The memories turn out to have a healing effect, because until 1933 they all lived peacefully next to each other – friends, neighbors, comrades.

Committed local historians as well as interested inhabitants and scholars began only recently to research the history of the Jews of that region, and they started to get in touch with the descendants of these Jews. They manage to fill white spots of local chronicles with words and pictures, and often their search bridges the gap between the past and the present.

Ulli Wendelmann’s documentary tells the story of a community that had lasted for centuries, as Jews have lived in the region between Rennsteig and the river Werra for almost 1000 years. They worked as traders, mechanics, teachers, merchants, bankers, manufacturers. In some villages like Berkach they made up more than a third of the population. But these 1000 years are just as full of pogroms, expulsion and finally the complete extinction of the Jewish population during the Holocaust.