This looks at first glance like a perfectly normal yellow road sign, such as you might find on any regional highway in Germany. But wait! These signs don't normally point to places over a thousand kilometers away. And who ever heard of a place called Gurs, anyhow?
Gurs is a city in the southwest corner of France. It was the site of a concentration camp that was used by the Nazi collaborators of the Vichy government to intern Jews and other people considered undesirable by the Nazis.
Within a few hours on October 22, 1940, the Nazis rounded up 6504 Jewish men, women and children from the regions of Baden and the Pfalz, including some 300 Jewish citizens of Freiburg, and deported them to Gurs. Many died there of hunger or illness, and in 1942 the rest were sent east to Auschwitz or Maidanek, where they were murdered.
On the 60th anniversary of the deportation, in October 2000, Freiburg citizens erected a plaque explaining what had happened. The text on the plaque concludes: "Too many people looked away back then, too few resisted. This must not and will not happen again."
Update: There is now a similar yellow sign in front of the main railroad station in Mannheim, but with a different number: "Gurs 1170 km".
Second photo: Square of the Old Synagogue. This is where the main Freiburg Synagogue used to be, until it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.
Freiburg im Breisgau straddles the Dreisam River at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. The city is known for its medieval Minster.
I was fortunate to visit this city in August of 2004 on the way from Bavaria (Hohenschwangau) to Karlsruhe where SV BSZS (German Shepherds Dog-show) was held.
We spent only a few hours there but could appreciate its beauty. Looking up into the Belfry of Freiburg Minster I was impressed very much! As well after wonderful view over Freiburg from the top of the Minster.
You can watch my 1 min 52 sec Video Freiburg im Breisgau Panorama out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Favorite thing: I don’t how to classify a tip about the weather, but as we were leaving Freiburg, it began to snow. I was a bit nervous and kept my eye on the temperature as we drove. It never got more than a degree below freezing, and it was October so the ground and highway had not yet taken on winter’s cold. As it turned out, we had a marvelous drive through the mountains of the Black Forest in the snow. Just cold enough for the snow to fall and stick onto the ground, trees and houses, but not cold enough for the road conditions to be hazardous. My wife observed that it was like driving through Christmas picture postcards. I suppose the caution here would be that it can indeed snow as early as October, although I understand that is earlier than the norm.
Kaiser-Joseph Street is the central shopping street here.
We began our acquaintance of the city with this street.
The city has a special layout with two main streets connecting the town gates and intersecting at a right angle in the middle.
The streets form a pedestrian presinct in the heart of the city.
"If one person dies, it's a tragedy. If a million people die, it's a statistic." This cynical statement was attributed to the late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1879-1953). It was quoted to me by a Russian orchestra conductor who spent his childhood in Moscow under Stalin's rule.
Like many other German cities, Freiburg is trying translate the statistic of six million Jews murdered by the Nazis back into the tragedy of individual people dragged from their homes and put to death. They do this by setting little squares of metal into the street or sidewalk in front of the houses where the people used to live. The two in the photo are embedded in the street in front of my hotel in the Rathausgasse in Freiburg. The one on the left reads:
and the one on the right:
Murdered 1942 in
These little squares of metal are known as "stumbling blocks" (Stolpersteine), but you can stumble over them only in a figurative sense, meaning you are made aware that these two murdered people used to live right here, so they aren't just statistics, but real people.
The "stumbling blocks" are an initiative of the artist Gunter Demnig, born 1947 in Berlin.
- Tel.: +49 (0)761 3881-880
- Fax: +49 (0)761 37003
- www.freiburg.de (different languages)
- www.alemania-turismo.com/pages_ms/freiburg_esp.htm (spanish)
- E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You really must explore the Black Forest surrounding Freiburg. Shown here is the part of the forest right next to Triberg Waterfalls.
See more in my black forest travelogue.
For all those who are interested in culture, museums, art collections the regional museums pass (Oberrheinischer Museumspass) is a great deal.
The Museums Pass covers more than 150 museums in the region, including Germany, France and Switzerland and such famous museums like the Art Museum in Basel and the Unterlinden museum in Colmar.
In Freiburg it covers e.g. the Augustinermuseum.
I purchased the short-time version, valid four days within one month. It costs 25 Euro.
www.museumspass.com (in German and French only)
Tel. CH: 061-205 00 40
Tel. D: 0761-707 83 82
Tel. F: 03 89 33 96 29
Freiburg's old town was destroyed in WWII in large parts. Although it has been restored mostly in historical style you will not find an unspoilt ensemble anymore.
It is, however, still charming. Narrow cobbled alleys and especially the Baechle are picturesque and provide an atmosphere of the past.
Fondest memory: My favourite walk was early in the morning. I started about 7.30 on a Monday morning when the town was seemingly sleeping. Later, especially in the afternoon, the streets became more and more filled with crowds.
One thing you will notice in Freiburg are the tiny canals on the streets called "Baechle". They are the remains of the medieval canals for the water supply of the people who lived and worked in the old town.
There is a saying in Freiburg that these foreign singles who step in the "Baechle" will marry a local soon ... so be careful (or not :-))!
My favorite place in Freiburg is the Biergarten on top of the Schlossberg (castle hill). Next to the Schwabentor, there's a charming wooden pedestrian bridge leading over to the hill side. Just follow the small path up the mountain, or take the elevator at the end of the "cave tunnel", up to the Greiffenegg Schlössle restaurant, where you exit through the hallway of the restaurant. (Of course it's also possible to stay and have some drinks at the restaurant, but in the summer, it's definitely nicer to sit outside in the Biergarten). Order your drinks at the bar (when the weather is nice, it's usually crowded and it takes quite long until the waiter gets to you), and try to get a table at the very edge. From there you'll have beautiful panorama views of the part of town called 'Die Wiehre', and in the horizon the Black Forest. On the steep hillside, you'll also notice that they're growing wine.
For even better views of Freiburg and surroundings; pass the Biergarten and continue the path up until you reach the view platform.
Visit the restaurant's homepage to get an impression of the Schlossberg! http://www.greiffenegg.de
Fondest memory: When I studied in Freiburg, we used to visit the Biergarten quite often, to enjoy the sun, the view and chat away over a couple of beers...
You should must get a booklet call - Freiburg - Official Guide (In English) from the tourist information for 3 Euros and it is worth an investment. There are other guide books also at sale there which could be very helpful if u are interested in hiking or doing walking tours of the city.
Fondest memory: Tourist information office is open from 09.30 to 20.00 hrs in weekdays from May to October. From 09.30 to 17.00 hrs on Saturday and 10.00 to 12.00 on Sunday and any other Holidays.
Address: Rottecking 14, Freiburg.
Phone: 388 1880.
Fax: 370 03
Take the time and visit the 'Oldest Pub In Germany.' That's right, I'm talking about the Hotel Bäron Wein und Bierstuben. Now, I don't know if it is in fact the oldest in the country, but it looks pretty old and my friend Jens said it was, so I'll believe him.
Freiburgers don't have a T.V tower as such to speak of, and we all know how much the Germans love to brag about their T.V towers (just talk to any Düsseldorferanian) so they have to find other things and this, as well as their DOM, is one of them.
Fondest memory: Going inside, sitting down, having a beer and simply soaking in the atmosphere of this rich and truly beautiful antique. I swear some of the patrons looked like they were born before the Great War, but yet they still looked 'fresh' somehow; must be the air. Esthetics are everything.
Freiburgs attractions are derived from in and around it. They range from adventures in the black forest, over fan tours in Disney land to summer afternoons at lake Titsee.
Left is the heart of Freiburg, "Bertolds Brunnen". This is the meeting point for the whole of Freiburg. The city begins and ends here, that is, before a walk on the shopping streets peolpe meet at this point and at the end of the day they depart from this point.
Having toured the beautiful historical side of Freiburg comprising of historical buildings like the “Kaufhaus” and Monuments like the town gates, you can then continue with its natural resources above all the “Black forest”.
Favorite thing: The water ways flowing through the streets make Freiburg unique, romantic and very pictureresque. Well as they served to water cattle in the past, today they serve to cool off hot feet in summer and are very popular for the kids.