We know almost nothing about her and that will never change. But she will be remembered. We must rely on our imaginations to fill in the enormous gaps about her life in Germany before the “final solution” became her fate. And we can imagine her new life in America, if only the U.S. government had approved her application to emigrate with the rest of my father’s family.
What we do know is that she was an unmarried Jewish woman who worked as a maid and was too shy or scared to give satisfactory answers to the questions that determined eligibility for emigration to the U.S. According to my Aunt Ellen, my grandmother was forced to send Meta back to Frankfurt after the rest of the family was granted permission to emigrate in 1938. At the age of 44 Meta returned to Frankfurt without any personal resources. She spent another four years there, was eventually forced into a Judenhaus, and then deported in May 1942. We have tried without success to find out where she was deported to and her date of death.
Later this year we will place a stolperstein (brass stumbling stone) in Frankfurt for Meta. This stone, placed at the site of Meta’s last freely chosen residence, will join the more than 25,000 others throughout Europe (see Stolpersteine: Stones to Remember). Pedestrians who tread on Meta’s stone will have the opportunity to reflect on another Holocaust victim. Meta’s stone will also represent the 13 Jews of Altwiedermus and my paternal ancestors whose lives were obliterated by the Nazis. Our son Avery, who will have his bar mitzvah in Berlin this October, will raise the 95 euros for Meta’s memorial stone as his bar mitzvah project.