Otto Weiss – the mysterious last Jew from Fischach

Leaving the Jewish cemetery, we were looking for other Jewish traces in the Bavarian Swabian village Fischach and we met an old Turkish man. His warm clothing revealed that for a quite long time he had accepted snow, ice and winter . I however was a last time tramping with the blackish Chinese low shoes (completely worn out and with huge leaks on both inner sides) I’d acquired for Yom Kippur because they were made from rubber … and of course I had my “famous blue raincoat”… He obviously was much better equipped for the weather, but on the other hand his old age exacted its toll and so he walked and talked very slowly, what did not stop him from addressing us on the street. When he had figured out that we were in the village because of the Jewish history, he seemed to be as happy as a lark and wanted to help us. At the end of the street, he told us “there in a house is the Jewish neighbor Otto Weiss” who “knows everything” und could help us – at least that was what we had grasped. Underway at very slow speed (both walking and talking) he reported from a (former?) workmate he once invited for Turkish food, which was either “hot” (scharf) or sheep (Schaf) or both. He also maintained that there are “about one million Jews in Turkey” (Wikipedia says there only are some 23.000) and “almost all of them are friendly” (Wikipedia has no answer regarding this). We finally reached a house “at the end of the road” and our Turkish friend and helper managed safely to climb some stairs as the door opened and a prying woman ask him: “May I help you ..?” The old man now explained that we are looking for the Jewish cemetery. Now we realized that there was at least one misunderstanding. The huge name plate at the door left no doubt that this was not the house of a person “Otto Weiss” but of a quite other family with a typical German name. I told Mrs. D. that our Turkish “guide” obviously misunderstood that we already visited the Jewish cemetery and thus we have not been looking for it. She sighed with relief and smiled. She also has not known any Otto Weiss but now we realized that in front of Mrs. D.s house actually there was a white car … so we did not understand what the man actually was trying to tell us: He wanted to ask a neighbor in a house at the end of the street about where is “the Jewish” (cemetery) and in front of the house there is a white car or as he pronounced it: “oto wi-se” (car, white). So we understood there will be an Otto Weiss at the end of the street, the last Jew of Fischach who could answer all our questions. But probably there never was an Otto Weiss in Fischach – he was just a phantasm and non-durable as for instance Unumpentium (Uup) but nonetheless it is a quite funny road episode midway between the Jewish cemetery of Fischach and the former synagogue at the old heart of the village, which explains best the difference between now and then.

Ein akustisches Misverständnis erweckte in Fischach den imaginären Juden Otto Weiss in ein kurzfristiges gedachtes Leben, in welchem er uns hätte erzählen können über die alten Juden von Fischach, … ehe es bald klar wurde, dass ein alter türkischer Fischacher uns unaufgefordert zu Nachbarn führen wollte, vor deren Haus ein weißes Auto (“oto wais”) stand. Die Bewohnerin hieß natürlich nicht Weiss und waren auch keine Juden. Sie hätte uns natürlich den Weg zum jüdischen Friedhof in Fischach erklären können, aber von dort kamen wir gerade …

One moment in time ...

5 Responses to Otto Weiss – the mysterious last Jew from Fischach

  1. Mutschi Carmelia Izaak says:

    Maybe i am the Last one. My hebrew Name is Mutschi Izaak. Auf Deutsch: Cornelia Steinmeyer, meine Eltern : Klara Bessler und Ludwig Steinmeyer, meine Großeltern: Felicitas Bessler und Josef Aufhofer, Johanna Steinmeyer und Albert Einstein, dann in zweiter Ehe Karl Hirschvogl. Haben sie irgendwelche Namen auf dem Friedhof, die mir sagen könnten, wer von meiner Familie auf dem Jüdischen Friedhof liegt?
    Danke, M.C. Izaak

  2. Cassidy Tire says:

    Cassidy Tire…

    […]Otto Weiss – the mysterious last Jew from Fischach « Jüdisch Historischer Verein Augsburg[…]…

  3. ssssnake says:

    Es war menschlich sehr rührend. Der “Türke” hat sich im Rahmen seiner Möglichkeiten extrem bemüht, den von aussen Gekommenen zu helfen.

    Aber ich musste innerlich auch sehr lachen, als “Otto Weiss” seine Bedeutung fand.

  4. Joshua says:

    So Otto Weiss turned out to be Otto Dawar … 😉 That’s “lushtig” as the late Marian Spokojny used to say.

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