No matter what the Germans did, they couldn’t take our traditions away.

Rachel is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. Brought up by her German father and Canadian mother, being Jewish is the mainstay of her essence, and she believes that many Jews today know little of their heritage. For Rachel it starts at home, and even before that – in the mother’s womb. ‘My father never told us what to do, he always showed us. I used to call my father ‘Do Dad’ because he was always doing for us and showing us what to do. He never said to us: “go to the synagogue”, he always took us.’

Rachel’s father is from the north German town of Lübeck. He rebuilt the town’s synagogue after it was burned down during Kristallnacht. Rachel’s pride in her father’s life is evident in the moving stories she tells of his life. His memory is what keeps her going. ‘My father is still alive in my memories, and I hear my father’s voice. My father came out (of Germany, the Holocaust) a broken man. I don’t know what gave him the courage to build what he did. He lost everything – his parents, his home, his language, his family, his library, his possessions but he didn’t lose his memories and his soul. And that made him to continue to stand up.’

Rachel is applying for German citizenship. She would love to go to Lübeck; she feels at home there. Her father’s story and her own heritage have strengthened her belief that it is one’s duty to rebuild. She remarks: ‘thank God we have the bricks and the capability to rebuild because they (the Nazis) couldn’t destroy the essence of a Jew. They could destroy the synagogue but not the Jewish essence, not the Jewish soul. We say: “Israel will live”, some promise that God gave us.’

This project is part of the initiative ‘Stand Together and Go Virtual’, supported by the German Embassy London and the Goethe-Institut London.