My trip to Germany started in Heidenberg. I chose it for a stopover on a trip between Frankfurt airport and Gernsbach (where the wedding would take place) because the guide said that it was one of a few larger inner cities that wasn't destroyed during World War 2 allied bombing: the war which is far enough in the past to be called history, and close enough to still be fresh for many.
Cozy old streets, manicured buildings and friendly locals -- it is hard to imagine that less than 70 years ago a generation of a nation here was participating in atrocities. It doesn't take much to judge the past, but all I hope is that if I were born at that time and place, and breathed the air they breathed, I wouldn't have done any of the horrible things -- but how would I know?
...The Jewish bride and the German groom signed their marriage contract in the old building of Gernsbach city hall. And all the guests threw rice and rose petals at the newlywed couple as they arrived to Schloß Eberstein castle, where the rest of the party took place. And according to a Jewish tradition, the broom broke a glass, this time against XIII century cobblestones, and the guests yelled mazel tov. And then we ate, drank and danced, and fraulines mixed in with aunts from Israel and lehaims with prosts.
And I thought of the places in the world that bleed nowadays and might seem without hope. And how what was unthinkable not that long ago, right now is taken for granted. And what an effort for us to see what's possible in an unthinkable now.
Photos by Misha Lyuve