In the freezing rain, the women of the Markkleeberg subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp were driven through the darkened streets of the outskirts of Leipzig on the night of April 13th, 1945: 1550 forced labourers - 1250 Jewish Hungarian women and 250 French women. Some of them did not survive the deportation march in April 1945 that was supposed to take them from Leipzig to Theresienstadt. For most of them, however, it was a privation-filled journey to a new life, which the prisoners had to walk in wooden shoes and without sufficient clothing and food.
After not being able to hold the Snow Flower Memorial Walk in the past two years due to the Corona pandemic, outdoor gatherings are possible again this year. 77 years after the camp evacuation, we therefore invite you again on April 13th to walk the first part of their path together in memory of the prisoners. None of them should be forgotten among us. We carry them with us this night, their names and their words, their music and their prayers, their lament and their hope. We lend them our feet, minds and hearts. We walk the path with signs and gestures of sympathy and remembrance. We carry on their legacy: to meet all people with an open heart and to give no space to hostility.
One survivor, Zahava Szasz Stessel - now 93 years old and living in New York - has compiled her memories in the touching book "Schneeblumen" (Snow Flowers), published in 2021 by the Notenspur-Verein in the publishing house Hentrich & Hentrich. Her thoughts will also accompany us through the night this year.
The Snow Flower Memorial Walk begins at the site of the former Markkleeberg subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. On April 13th, 1945, the women had to hold out for hours on the roll call square until the signal came to march off. Like the women back then, we will start at dusk and walk into the night. We will follow the first, approximately 8.5 km long section of the path. The commemorative walk will not be a demonstration in the usual sense, but rather bears the character of a pilgrimage: reflective and contemplative, peaceful and deepening. We carry small cards with the names of the women from the deportation list. At various points along the way, the names of all the women are read out. Zahava Szasz Stessel remembers that after the hard work in the armament factories in the camp, they sang, wrote poetry, composed and sang the songs of the Jewish holidays to gain strength to overcome the terrible experiences. Therefore, this music will also be heard together with the music of the French prisoners on the memorial walk. "To walk an inner path with an outer one at the same time and to combine this with music to deepen the impression is our concern," emphasises Notenspur initiator Werner Schneider.
At the end of our memorial walk in Probstheida, we express our sympathy with symbols - candles, stones, flowers - and share with the Jewish community the hope that a new beginning is possible.
Volunteer musicians, speakers and organisational/technical helpers are currently still being sought for the commemorative walk.
Applications and information under e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Start: 7 p.m. at the site of the former concentration camp Buchenwald subcamp Markkleeberg, ASG-Bildungsstätte, Equipagenweg 15.
Route length approx. 6.5 km, partial routes are possible.
End: around 9.50 p.m. in Probstheida, Russenstraße 23
Arrival and return by public transport possible
Organizers: Notenspur Leipzig e.V. and Werkbühne e.V.
Snowflower commemoration 2020
You can see the video here.
Snow Flower Memorial Walk 2015
You can see a review here.