By Menachem Cohen, COLlive reporter
Customers of the branch of the German Edeka supermarket located at Grindelallee 126 in the city of Hamburg surely could not have missed the new stickers on some food products with the wording “Kosher” in Hebrew and German.
Some 40 items in the long-serving store now have a yellow tag indicating their availability to observant Jews. The products are mostly dry and canned foods that are manufactured locally. Dairy products which are Cholov Yisroel will soon be available as well.
This new development has literally brought tears to the eyes of many local Jews, bringing back memories of 70 years ago, a very different time.
To April 1, 1933 to be exact.
Anti Semitism was rampant then, and encouraged by German authorities, with a national prohibition on all Jewish owned businesses. German citizens happily obeyed the decree.
One of the photos taken during that dark period has become a known symbol of the Holocaust, one that will forever remain a witness to the racist Nazi propaganda. Seen in it is a man holding up a sign reading “a German does not shop by a Jew.”
That famous black and white photo was taken on Grindelallee street, where the Edeka supermarket now stands and proudly sells kosher products.
Responsible for the exciting and symbolic development is Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky, Director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Hamburg.
“After much effort and many meetings, the supermarket agreed to sell kosher food and they really liked the idea of adding a “kosher” marking on the shelves,” the Shliach told COLlive.com.
As reported here, Bistritzky is behind the kosher mark on boutique cheeses produced by Kruses Hofmilch, a small dairy farm near Hamburg, and distributed throughout Germany. The Shliach also gives a hechsher to a local bakery which distributes frozen bagels to Switzerland and France.
Bistritzky and his wife Chani arrived on Shlichus to the city some 7 years ago and have quietly led a Jewish revolution.
“Out goals are to help built Jewish infrastructure so every Jew in town will be able to have access to any religious service,” he said pointing out that one of them is kosher food and drink.
“Some people search for kosher products and won’t eat anything else, then there are those who will only buy kosher if it’s available, and I’m trying to serve both of these crowds,” Bistritzky said.
“When you look at both the picture from the Holocaust and the kosher symbol in the store today, you can’t not be overwhelmed with satisfaction,” he says in conclusion.