The Israeli descendants of a German Jew who was murdered during the Holocaust returned this month to his hometown for the naming of a street in his memory, the Rhein-Zeitung reported.
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The village of Hargesheim dedicated in early December Arthur Rauner Street in a ceremony presided over by Mayor Werner Schwan. Rauner was deported with his wife Augusta in 1942 to Theresienstadt, where he was killed. His wife also perished in the Holocaust.
In a speech that the Rhein-Zeitung described as emotional, Tamir Rauner paid tribute to his grandparents, who managed to send their four children to Palestine via France before their deportation. He recalled how stories he heard as a child would being with "here in Hargesheim."
Arthur Rauner, who was born in Rheinboellen and moved with his parents to Hargesheim, worked in and eventually took over his father's grocery store, according to the Rhein-Zeitung. A sports enthusiast, he was a founding member of the town's sports club and was elected its first chairman. After the Nazis rose to power in 1933, he was reelected chairman but was not allowed to serve.
"Hugo, my father, escaped right after Kristallnacht, in 1938," said Osnat Lester, Arthur and Augusta's granddaughter, according to Ynet News. "He told his parents he would pick them up to go to Israel and asked them to wait for him beneath the town clock on a certain day, but when he arrived, the neighbors told him that the Nazis already took them."
"Hargesheim is and will remain your home," Mayor Schwan told Rauner's descendants at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"It was the most emotional thing in the world," said Lester of the ceremony in Hargesheim, a village with fewer than 3,000 residents. "There was an amazing sense of coming full circle."