After breakfast we disembarked for a walking tour of Wertheim, a charming fairytale town located at the meeting of the Main and Tauber Rivers. Because of its location the town is prone to flooding. Overlooking the town is the ruins of a castle that one can reach by climbing 350 steps and another 180 to the top of the tower. The medieval townscape included beautifully restored half-timbered houses built in Franconian style. The main square was charming.
At the entrance to the town is the leaning tower of Wertheim, Spitzer Tower, a quite impressive tower with an octagonal top. The 13th century tower has a lean because of 800 years of floodwaters. Located on its side, are marker's showing the flood levels over the centuries. It was used as a Guard and Watch Tower and Prison for "Drunkard's" and for "Bad tempered feuding bickering Women!" The Women were locked in the dark Tower together for up to 6 weeks!
Established in 1406, the cemetery of the former Jewish community of Wertheim is one of the oldest in Germany. In use up until the 20th century, it is the oldest existing Jewish cemetery in Baden-Württemberg state. This old cemetery is built on a very steep slope at the edge of the village. Most of Wertheim's Jewish population fled Germany during Hitler's rise to power and those who didn't escape were sent to Nazi Labor or extermination camps. The German people have tried to preserve this small cemetery with its historical significance. After the war they righted many of the overturned headstones and have tried to keep the cemetery clean.
The stolperstein or stumbling stone is a type of monument created by artist Gunter Demnig to commemorate victims of Nazi oppression, including the Holocaust. Stolpersteins are small, cobblestone-sized memorials for individual victims of Nazism. They commemorate individuals – both those who died and survivors – who were consigned by the Nazis to prisons, euthanasia facilities, sterilization clinics, concentration camps, and extermination camps, as well as those who responded to persecution by emigrating or committing suicide.
Our guide, Rudy, told us that his grandfather was a high ranking SS officer. His grandfather's sister resided in the house with Rudy and his family when he was small. She was still very German old school. In 1979 when Rudy was 4 his mother gave birth to his brother, a down syndrome baby. His great aunt came to his mother while she was still in the hospital and told her not to worry, she would "take care of" this deformed child. Their family moved out of the house even though it was their house and never spoke to the woman again. He also told us that from 1944-1970 the Nazis were not in the German history books.
We went back to the ship for lunch and sailed away past the vineyards of Franconia and through the night.